Healthy Eating for Preschoolers


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Healthy Eating for Preschoolers

  1. 1. Healthy Eating for Preschoolers By Sheila Jones, PhD, RD, LD
  2. 2. Normal Food Behaviors of Preschool Children <ul><li>Disinterest in food – between 9-18 months of age & lasts a few months to a few years </li></ul><ul><li>- growth has slowed </li></ul><ul><li>Appetite – usually erratic & unpredictable </li></ul><ul><li>- evening meal is usually least well received but may have already met their needs with several snacks </li></ul><ul><li>- indiscriminate snacking dulls the appetite </li></ul>
  3. 3. Normal Food Behaviors of Preschool Children <ul><li>Food rituals – may only accept sandwiches if cut in quarters & may throw tantrums if not </li></ul><ul><li>- may demand food have a particular arrangement on the plate or dishes be placed in certain locations on the table </li></ul>
  4. 4. Normal Food Behaviors of Preschool Children <ul><li>Strong preferences </li></ul><ul><li>– likes & dislikes may change from day to day & week to week </li></ul><ul><li>- carb-rich foods are often preferred - fortified cereals can be important </li></ul><ul><li>Eat greater variety when: </li></ul><ul><li>rested & hungry </li></ul><ul><li>foods are offered at a neutral temperature </li></ul><ul><li>in shapes & sizes they can manage </li></ul><ul><li>foods are offered without undue pressure </li></ul>
  5. 5. Foods for Young Children <ul><li>Most like: </li></ul><ul><li>simple, unmixed dishes at room temperature </li></ul><ul><li>familiar foods </li></ul><ul><li>Add: </li></ul><ul><li>Small portions of new foods with familiar & popular foods </li></ul><ul><li>Colorful foods for them to try </li></ul><ul><li>Combine dry foods with moist and sharp acid-flavored with mild-flavored </li></ul>
  6. 6. For Ease of Manipulation <ul><li>Prepare foods to be eaten with fingers – small pieces of meat, green beans, orange wedges </li></ul><ul><li>Small pieces of food are easier for children to handle with eating utensils </li></ul><ul><li>Idea is to support child’s efforts at self-feeding </li></ul><ul><li>At age 2 – uses arm muscles </li></ul><ul><li>At age 3 – uses hand muscles </li></ul><ul><li>At age 4 – uses finger muscles – may be able to cut up some foods </li></ul>
  7. 7. Desirable Food Characteristics <ul><li>Texture: Serve 1 soft food for ease of chewing, 1 crisp food for enjoyment of sound, 1 chewy food for emerging chewing skills </li></ul><ul><li>- tender or ground meats are needed </li></ul><ul><li>Flavor: May reject strong flavors </li></ul><ul><li>Portion sizes: May be discouraged with large portions </li></ul>
  8. 8. Portion Guide Foods 1-yr old portion sizes 1-yr old # servings 2-3 yr old portion sizes 2-3 yr old # servings Milk 1/2 Cup 4 - 5 1/4 – 3/4 Cup 4 - 5 Meat & Equivalents 1/4 – 1 oz. 2 - 4 T 1 1 - 2 oz. 2 Vegetables 1 – 2 T 4 – 5 2 – 3 T 4 - 5 Fruits 2 – 4 T 4 – 5 2 – 4 T 4 - 5 Grains 1/2 Slice 3 1/2 – 1 Slice 3
  9. 9. Parental Concerns <ul><li>Most Commonly: </li></ul><ul><li>Limited intake of milk , meat , & vegetables </li></ul><ul><li>Too many sweets </li></ul><ul><li>Milk: 1 oz. of milk provides 36 mg calcium </li></ul><ul><li>(need about 500 mg) </li></ul><ul><li>- cheese & yogurt can be offered & are usually accepted when milk is rejected </li></ul><ul><li>- too much fruit juice or sweetened beverages can </li></ul><ul><li>interfere with milk intake </li></ul>
  10. 10. Parental Concerns <ul><li>Meat: try easy to chew forms </li></ul><ul><li>- if all meat is rejected, offer other forms of iron such as fortified cereal with OJ </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetables: small portions should be served without comment & discarded if not eaten </li></ul><ul><li>- nonfood rewards can be given if veggies are eaten at mealtime </li></ul>
  11. 11. Parental Concerns <ul><li>Sweets: need to set limits on amounts </li></ul><ul><li>- other family members & other care providers need to know the limits </li></ul>
  12. 12. Parental Concerns <ul><li>Food Intake: eating at intervals of 3-4 hours usually keep children from getting too hungry but do not keep them full all the time </li></ul><ul><li>Remember they need small portions </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on when they eat , never when they refuse to eat </li></ul>(1)
  13. 13. Healthy Breakfasts <ul><li>Focus On: </li></ul><ul><li>Whole grains - whole grain cereals and breads such as whole wheat or oatmeal bread, Cheerios, Grape Nuts, oatmeal, whole grain waffles </li></ul><ul><li>Fruits – berries, bananas, apples </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetables – bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes </li></ul><ul><li>A Little Protein – peanut butter, low-fat cheese, LEAN meats, low-fat/skim milk, egg or egg whites </li></ul>
  14. 14. Healthy Breakfasts <ul><li>Carbs in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, & milk provide energy </li></ul><ul><li>Protein in peanut butter, low-fat cheeses, lean meats, & eggs provide building blocks for growth & can help your child be alert </li></ul>
  15. 15. Healthy Breakfasts <ul><li>Try: </li></ul><ul><li>Cereal with berries & low-fat milk </li></ul><ul><li>Whole wheat toast with peanut butter or low-fat cheese melted and juice (with vitamin C) </li></ul><ul><li>Omelet with vegetables, low-fat cheese, lean ham, whole wheat toast, & juice </li></ul>
  16. 16. Quick Healthy Lunches <ul><li>Again, Focus On: </li></ul><ul><li>Whole grains – whole grain loaf breads, bagels, rolls, & crackers </li></ul><ul><li>Fruits – single serve applesauce, peaches, etc.; fresh grapes, apples, bananas; dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, cranberries </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetables – fresh baby carrots, lettuce/tomato for sandwiches, broccoli, zucchini/squash (may add low-fat Ranch dressing) </li></ul><ul><li>Low-fat Dairy – low-fat cheeses, milk, & yogurts </li></ul><ul><li>Lean Meats - large amounts are not needed </li></ul>
  17. 17. Quick Healthy Lunches <ul><li>Try: </li></ul><ul><li>Mini pizza with whole grain bagel, ketchup or marinara sauce, Canadian bacon, Mozzarella cheese, grapes, and low-fat/skim milk (olives & shredded carrots can add facial features) </li></ul><ul><li>Whole grain garlic crackers with string cheese or peanut butter, applesauce, yogurt, and low-sodium vegetable juice </li></ul><ul><li>Fruit & cheese kabobs, slivered almonds, whole grain roll, and low-fat/skim milk </li></ul><ul><li>Whole wheat peanut butter and banana sandwich, </li></ul><ul><li>fresh baby carrots, and low-fat/skim milk </li></ul>
  18. 18. Tips for Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables <ul><li>1. Trying is believing – may like some the 1 st time, but it may take 10-15 times for others </li></ul><ul><li>2. Seeing is believing – modeling by parents, other grown-ups, and siblings is very influential – say you LOVE it! </li></ul><ul><li>3. Offer choices – offer 2-3 fruit or vegetable choices at meals & snacks, including juices – </li></ul><ul><li>empowers children to begin making decisions </li></ul>
  19. 19. Tips for Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables <ul><li>4. Make it Easy – when kids come in hungry, they will grab the most convenient item </li></ul><ul><li>- place fruits & veggies in a large bowl on the kitchen counter or table and cut up in small bags on bottom shelf of refrigerator </li></ul><ul><li>- place 100% fruit juice boxes or pouches on bottom shelf of refrigerator </li></ul><ul><li>5. Make it Fun – let them make pictures with cut </li></ul><ul><li>up fruits & veggies (broccoli for trees, </li></ul><ul><li>orange slices for the sun, etc. ) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Tips for Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables <ul><li>6. Crunchy & Sweet Can’t Be Beat – if kids won’t eat cooked veggies, try raw with low-fat Ranch dressing </li></ul><ul><li>7. Kids Like to Eat What They Make – kids are more likely to try something they help prepare </li></ul><ul><li>- help them find recipes to try </li></ul><ul><li>8. Add Fruits & Vegetables to Favorite Foods – </li></ul><ul><li>low-fat shakes with fruit, cereal with </li></ul><ul><li>bananas, spaghetti sauce with pureed vegetables </li></ul>(2)
  21. 21. Top 10 Ways to Get Kids Involved With Fruits & Vegetables <ul><li>1. Mean Green Cleaning Machine – Let them wash fruits & veggies </li></ul><ul><li>2. Pick A Peck – Let them select a new fruit or veggie </li></ul><ul><li>3. Make It Snappy – Let them snap green beans, peas, or broccoli flowerets </li></ul>
  22. 22. Top 10 Ways to Get Kids Involved With Fruits & Vegetables <ul><li>4. I Spy – Play “I Spy” in the produce section </li></ul><ul><li>5. Tear It Up ! – Let them tear the lettuce for salads & sandwiches </li></ul><ul><li>6. Measure Up! – Let them measure the vegetables before cooking them </li></ul><ul><li>7. Peel & Slice – Older children can peel & slice </li></ul><ul><li>fruits & veggies </li></ul>
  23. 23. Top 10 Ways to Get Kids Involved With Fruits & Vegetables <ul><li>8. Stir & Spice – Make applesauce from apples & let them stir & add the cinnamon </li></ul><ul><li>9. A Sprinkle A Day – Let them sprinkle herbs or other seasonings onto veggies </li></ul><ul><li>10. Monster Mash! – Pull out the potato masher </li></ul>(3)
  24. 24. Snack Facts <ul><li>Preschool children have small stomachs and need scheduled snacks </li></ul><ul><li>Eating at regular intervals discourages grazing, characterized as near-continuous nibbling or drinking </li></ul><ul><li>How much should you serve at snack time? </li></ul><ul><li>Answer: Enough to take the edge off - start small; you can always serve more </li></ul>
  25. 25. Healthy Snacks Made at Home <ul><li>Think of snacks as mini-meals and avoid serving high-sodium chips & sugar-laden drinks </li></ul><ul><li>Try: </li></ul><ul><li>Snack Mix - set out bowls of Cheerios, dried fruit, & chopped nuts or sunflower seeds – let them mix it up – this mix is good with yogurt </li></ul><ul><li>Fruit Smoothies – let them experiment with fresh or frozen fruits and low-fat yogurt or milk </li></ul><ul><li>Low-fat microwave popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, and low-sodium vegetable juice </li></ul>
  26. 26. Little Dipper Snacks <ul><li>Young children love to dip – a little messy, but worth it for development and good nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Try: </li></ul><ul><li>Sliced apple, peach, pear, banana, or cooked sweet potato dipped in low-fat yogurt </li></ul><ul><li>Baby carrots, celery sticks, sliced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes (cut in half) dipped in low-fat Ranch dressing or nut butter </li></ul>
  27. 27. Healthy Snacks on the Go <ul><li>For simple, healthy snacks </li></ul><ul><li>Try: </li></ul><ul><li>String cheese & small can of low-sodium vegetable juice </li></ul><ul><li>Small whole grain muffin & carton of low-fat/skim milk </li></ul><ul><li>¼ peanut butter sandwich & carton of 100% fruit juice </li></ul><ul><li>Tube of yogurt & whole grain crackers </li></ul>(4)
  28. 28. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>Until your child’s food preferences mature, prevent mealtime battles 1 bite at a time </li></ul><ul><li>1. Respect Your Child’s Hunger – young children tend to eat only when hungry </li></ul><ul><li>- growth has slowed its pace </li></ul><ul><li>– don’t force food </li></ul><ul><li>2. Stay Calm – If your child sees you unhappy, it may become a battle of the wills </li></ul><ul><li>- threats and punishments reinforce the </li></ul><ul><li>behavior </li></ul>
  29. 29. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>3. Keep An Eye On The Clock – Nix juice & snacks at least 1 hour before meals </li></ul><ul><li>4. Don’t Expect Too Much – A few bites may be all it takes for your child to feel full </li></ul><ul><li>5. Limit Liquid Calories – Low-fat or fat-free dairy & 100% fruit juice are important but may not leave room for meals & snacks if taken in </li></ul><ul><li>excess </li></ul>
  30. 30. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>6. Start Small – Offer several foods in small </li></ul><ul><li>portions & let your child choose </li></ul><ul><li>7. Boycott The Clean Plate Club – Promotes overeating - allow your child to stop eating when full </li></ul><ul><li>8. Leave taste Out Of It – Talk about the color, shape, aroma, & texture – not whether it tastes </li></ul><ul><li>good </li></ul>
  31. 31. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>9. Be Patient With New Foods – May need repeated exposure before the 1 st bite is taken </li></ul><ul><li>10. Eat Breakfast For Dinner – May enjoy </li></ul><ul><li>breakfast foods </li></ul><ul><li>11. Make It Fun – Serve veggies with a favorite dip such as low-fat Ranch dressing </li></ul>
  32. 32. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>12. Recruit Your Child’s Help – Ask them to help you select fruits & veggies in the store </li></ul><ul><li>- at home, let them rinse veggies, stir batter, or set the table </li></ul><ul><li>13. Set A Good Example – If you eat a variety, your child is more likely to follow suit </li></ul><ul><li>14. Be Sneaky – Add veggies to spaghetti sauce, </li></ul><ul><li>casseroles, & soups & top cereal with fruits </li></ul>
  33. 33. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>15. Keep It Separate – Try not mixing the foods & serve the ingredients separately </li></ul><ul><li>16. Stick To The Routine – Serve the meals & snacks at the same times everyday & keep kitchen closed at other times </li></ul><ul><li>17. Minimize Distractions – Turn off the TV during meals & snacks & don’t allow books or toys </li></ul><ul><li>at the table </li></ul>
  34. 34. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>18. Don’t Offer Dessert As A Reward – Sends a message that it is the best food </li></ul><ul><li>- redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>19. Expect Some Food Preferences To Stick – As kids mature, they tend to become less picky, but will still have some preferences & not like others </li></ul>
  35. 35. 20 Tips for Picky Eaters <ul><li>20. Know When To Seek Help – If they are energetic and growing, probably doing fine </li></ul><ul><li>- if the eating behavior is compromising growth & development or if certain foods cause illness, consult your physician </li></ul>(5)
  36. 36. References <ul><li>Worthington-Roberts BS and Williams SR. Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle , 4 th Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2000, p. 242-246. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  37. 37. Questions? Thank You!
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