According to research, food preferences are formed in early childhood and impact an individual’s eating habits for life. Beginning early is essential to give our kids the best opportunity to live lives that are healthy and successful and turn the tide on our obesity epidemic.
On any particular day, 30 percent of all 2- and 3-year olds don’t eat a vegetable that is single; for those who do, the most commonly consumed vegetables were fried potatoes.
Having wholesome food accessible is a crucial first step. But teaching children love it and to eat this food is another challenge. You can not just place a piece of broccoli in front of a 3-year old and anticipate her in with gusto. But most early child-care teachers get almost no training about how to introduce new foods or how to teach children “tasting,” a skill which helps expand palates and break from the pizza-pasta-nugget rut, or how to talk to kids about hunger and satiety. Particularly early in life, working on children, will get them excited about eating fruits and vegetables.
A simple part of every program, morning snack time, is the perfect time to teach healthy eating habits to kids, not just put food on the table and expect children to have the knowledge of what things to do.