Healthy Cooking for Picky Kids - post

Healthy Cooking for Picky Kids

image in article Healthy Cooking for Picky KidsOne of the most common challenges faced by child care providers is catering to the dietary preferences of picky eaters. Encouraging #healthy-eating habits in young children is crucial for their overall #development, and child care providers play a pivotal role in shaping these habits. This article explores the art of healthy cooking in the #classroom for picky kids within the context of child care, emphasizing the significance of ChildCareEd training courses as invaluable resources for nutrition and cooking activities.

Understanding Picky Eating:

Picky eating is a normal phase of childhood development, but it can pose unique challenges for child care providers. Understanding the reasons behind picky eating is essential to address the issue effectively. ChildCareEd's training courses offer valuable insights into child development and psychology, providing child care providers with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of picky eating.

4 ChildCareEd Training Courses:

  1. On My Plate: Children's Nutrition:
    • In the beginning years of every child’s life, food does more than nourish the body: it also fuels the mind. A nutritionally balanced diet aids in the optimal #growth-and-development in young children. Child care professionals must be cognizant of what children should eat and intentionally meal plan to address children’s nutritional needs.
  2. Health & Nutrition:
    • Children’s development depends on a well-balanced and -maintained #health-and diet. You are responsible for ensuring children’s #health-and- #safety so that they are ready to learn. We developed this course for #teachers and providers to understand the influence of chronic illness on disease prevention for children, as well the nutritional needs of children and support those who have food allergies.
  3. Healthy Habits from the Start:
    • We created this course to help introduce beginning teachers to the connection between nutrition and healthy child #growth-and development. This training is designed for teachers of young children, ages infant to #school-age. Teachers will explore ways to address good nutrition in the classroom as well as ways to educate families about the importance of their child's nutrition.
  4. Chef's in the Classroom: Cooking as a Teaching Tool:
    • Cooking is not just creating fun, nutritious food--it is also an opportunity for children to learn and practice their skills! When we plan cooking lessons for children. We need to consider constraints, extensions, and modifications to address specific needs. We created this course to help #teachers and providers understand how to plan and implement fun cooking activities in the child care setting while aligning them to children's development.

4 Practical Strategies for Healthy Cooking:

Child care providers often find themselves searching for practical strategies to encourage healthy eating habits among picky eaters. The ChildCareEd training courses mentioned above provide a solid foundation, but there are additional hands-on approaches that can be implemented:

  1. Engage Children in Meal Preparation:
    • Involving children in the cooking process can be a game-changer. Child care providers can organize simple cooking activities where children participate in preparing their meals. This hands-on approach not only sparks interest in food but also promotes a sense of ownership and pride in what they eat.
  2. Create a Colorful and Inviting Atmosphere:
    • Children are drawn to colorful and visually appealing foods. Child care providers can use creative presentation techniques to make healthy meals visually enticing. Incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables not only adds nutritional value but also makes the dining experience more enjoyable for picky eaters.
  3. Offer Choice within Healthy Options:
    • Child care providers can provide a sense of autonomy to picky eaters by offering choices within healthy options. For example, allowing children to choose between different types of fruits or vegetables empowers them to make decisions about their meals, making them more likely to try new foods.
  4. Model Healthy Eating Habits:
    • Children are highly influenced by the behaviors of adults around them. Child care providers can model healthy eating habits by enthusiastically enjoying nutritious meals themselves. This sets a positive example for picky eaters and encourages them to explore a wider range of foods.

Tips for picky eaters:

Designed by the USDE, Healthy Tips for Picky Eaters is a quick reference guide to help #educators and #parents develop healthy strategies for the pickiest of eaters. Download this FREE resource today! Encourage #picky_eaters to try new foods by offering them in small portions and gradually increasing the amount over time. Make #mealtime fun by giving picky eaters a choice between two healthy options or by involving them in the cooking process. Don't force picky eaters to finish their food or make negative comments about their food choices as this can create negative associations with new foods.

Designing a Cooking Project Lesson Plan for Preschoolers:

When designing a #cooking project lesson plan for #preschoolers, it's important to choose simple recipes that are easy to prepare and do not require any complex kitchen equipment. The lesson plan should also include safety rules such as wearing aprons and keeping hands and surfaces clean and sanitized. Incorporating fun and educational elements such as measuring ingredients, identifying different food groups, and practicing counting skills can make the cooking project a fun and engaging learning experience for preschoolers. Use this template to design your next cooking project. Use ChildCareEd’s FREE Resouce “Cooking Project Lesson Plan” template, to help you get started.


Healthy cooking for picky kids in child care settings requires a combination of knowledge, creativity, and practical strategies. ChildCareEd training courses and resources stand as pillars of support for child care providers, offering valuable insights and practical skills to address the unique challenges of picky eating. By incorporating the knowledge gained from these courses into daily practices, child care providers can play a transformative role in fostering healthy eating habits that will benefit children throughout their lives. 


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