Nutrition Education Lifelong eating habits are shaped during a child’s early years. Teachers of young children have a special opportunity to help children establish a healthy relationship with food and lay the foundation for sound eating habits. Nutrition education and activities help set children on the path to a healthful lifestyle. Providing nutritionally balanced meals and snacks and integrating nutrition education and healthy eating habits in the home and early childhood.
Nutrition education for preschoolers fosters children’s awareness of different types of foods and promotes exploration and inquiry of food choices. Lifelong habits with foods are developed during early childhood. Through nutrition education in preschool, teachers encourage children to include a wide variety of foods that provide adequate nutrients in their daily diet. Through knowledge, children become aware of different foods and tastes, some of which are familiar and others that are new. As they explore various foods and food preparations, they develop likes and dislikes and begin to make choices based on preference. Both nutrition choices and self-regulation of eating—that is, eating when hungry, chewing food thoroughly, eating slowly, and stopping when full— involve decision-making skills. As children begin to understand the concepts of food identification and categorizing, teachers may describe how specific foods help our bodies. Children may better understand the overall benefit of food in terms of it helping them grow, giving them energy to run and play, and helping them to become strong. As children begin to understand internal body parts, teachers can initiate discussion of more specific food benefits. Children need to understand that various foods help the body in different ways and that some children have specific food allergies. For those with allergies, certain foods are potentially harmful to them. Teachers should encourage tasting and eating a variety of foods to obtain adequate nutrients for growth and development.