The Daily Dirt

FoodCorps Friday: Start Small, Start Early!

By Shante Chaney-Donnelly

It’s so important to make sure children are eating a healthy diet, not only to help grow , but to ensure healthy growth in their young brains as well.

Since children are exposed to hundreds of “junk” food ads every day, it can be difficult to get children to eat healthy, let alone get excited about doing so.

The most important years of a child’s life, nutritionally, are the first 5 years. This is where 90% of a child’s brain is developing, and in order to set your child up for greatness early, it’s necessary for them to eat a diverse and nutritionally dense diet.

However it’s not always easy to make this happen, especially with the busy working parents of today and with the rising food costs of tomorrow.

In that light, I have been experimenting with preschool and elementary students and I have come up with some tried and true ways to get your baby to eat bravely.


  • GET THEM INVOLVED: Cooking with parents/caretakers during mealtimes, letting them come up with what’s for dinner and include them in simple meal prep. If this is a new practice for you and your family, starting small is perfectly OK!


  • GET THEM FAMILIAR: Teaching them about the different produce at the store, in meals, on TV; even if you don’t buy it, show them what it is, how it feels, and how it smells. Preschool aged children are already learning about senses in school, so engage these to maximize learning. Remember EVERYWHERE is an environment for learning!


  • GROW YOUR OWN: Children are more likely to eat things that they have grown, and they will get an understanding about where these foods come from… the EARTH! This one is definitely a bigger step, but you’ll get a bigger, long-term reward as well.

garden colors!littleones 2

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