Ten Tips for Teaching Nutrition to Preschoolers

February 22, 2023 Children

Parents often ask — what’s the best way to teach nutrition to my kids? My answer is always “keep the focus on food and fun”. Children between the ages of three and five are at a wonderful and curious stage where they love to touch, smell, play with and sometimes even taste new foods. At this stage, children do not need to understand food groups or nutrients. They learn best through experience and by watching adults eat.

Promote healthy food habits in your preschooler with these tips:


When serving new foods, catch your child when he or she is most hungry. This is often during afternoon snack time. Offer the new food alongside a favorite and remember to take a bite yourself.


Choose fun instead of force. For some children, it may take 10 or more exposures to new foods before they will take the first taste. Keep it positive and avoid the temptation to require your child to take a bite. When your child feels in control, they will eventually develop the confidence needed to taste new foods.


Offer finger foods with fun dips to promote independent feeding skills. Try pea pods, steamed baby carrots, grape tomatoes, sweet pepper strips or broccoli florets with hummus, smashed beans, guacamole or plain yogurt mixed with herbs. Chunks of pineapple, bananas and strawberries are more fun when paired with vanilla yogurt or light cream cheese.


Let your child be a kitchen helper. A preschooler can help tear up lettuce, break bananas into chunks, dump and stir ingredients and even crack open eggs. Kids gain self-confidence when they play a part in making snacks and meals.


At the grocery store, allow your child to pick out a favorite fruit or vegetable as well as something new to try. Ask your child to point out a vegetable in different forms. For instance, play “find the carrots” as you are shopping. See if your child can pick out carrots in their whole form, canned, in the frozen food aisle and in the deli or store salad bar.


Start a garden, big or small. If you don’t have space, start with windowsill containers. Easy to grow vegetables and herbs include radishes, basil, lettuce, and spinach.


Read fun food-based storybooks to your child.


Eat together as often as possible. Shared family meals promote good eating habits and also aid in your child’s overall development.


Show your child how much you enjoy eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, beans, lean meats, fish, yogurt, cheese and milk. Young children really do learn best by example!


Visit https://www.myplate.gov/life-stages/preschoolers for more ideas on healthy eating, daily food plans and kitchen activities.

Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: