Early Childhood Nutrition Education Chart

Power Panther Preschool Implementation Manual

 Eight child care lessons that encourage fruit and vegetable consumption and increased physical activity.

Healthy Snacks and Physical Activities for Early Childhood Program

Healthy snack ideas, fun physical activities, and suggested books to incorporate into lessons in the early childhood setting.


More Than Mud Pies

This nutrition education curriculum provides both staff and children with enjoyable activities that encourage positive ideas about nutrition and foods.  The 54 lessons are built around the seasons of the year.  Children will use these age-appropriate activities to learn about growth, nutrition and preparation of foods.


Preschooler MyPlate Mini-Poster

An at-a-glance guide to healthy eating for preschoolers.


MODEL Health! Promoting Nutrition and Physical Activity in Children

Lessons for early childhood educators on nutrition and physical activity, with an emphasis on role modeling.


Color Me Healthy: Preschoolers Moving and Eating Healthy

Healthy eating and exercise program for 4 and 5-year-olds in the preschool classroom. The curriculum includes recipes, songs, and parent newsletters.

Discover MyPlate: Nutrition Education for Kindergarten

Discover MyPlate is fun and inquiry-based nutrition education that fosters the development of healthy food choices and physically active lifestyles during a critical developmental and learning period for children.

Nutrition Education Program: NEP School Enrichment Kits

 Due to special grant funding, this FREE program is only available to elementary schools where 50% or more of the students participate in the free and reduced-price school lunch program.

   Create a Classroom That Moves! 

Classroom-based physical activities are instructional tools teachers can use to improve mood, energy levels, and facilitate student learning. Activity can be introduced into existing routines and transitions, into academic lessons, or introduced as a ‘brain break.’ This kit consists of three core classroom tools: Grade-level nutrition lessons; Physical activity breaks; My Classroom Physical Activity Pyramid.


Michigan Team Nutrition Booklist

An annotated list of over 400 books with positive food, nutrition and physical activity messages for children in grades K-2.


Nutrition Education of Texas

Multidisciplinary nutrition lesson plans for grades pre-Kindergarten through High School that align with Texas education standards.


Team Nutrition Resources Chart

Team Nutrition

Team Nutrition, an initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, supports national efforts to promote lifelong healthy food choices and physical activity by improving the nutrition practices of the Child Nutrition Programs. They provide resources to schools, child care settings, and summer meal sites that participate in these programs.

CACFP Nutrition Education Resources

Teach children about healthy eating that will last them a lifetime. CACFP has resources and publications that will help you put together great tasting, nutritious meals and snacks that children will enjoy.

CACFP Meal Pattern Training Worksheets

These colorful and engaging materials can be used to empower Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) providers and operators with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to implement the updated CACFP meal pattern requirements. These tools are designed train providers, operators, menu planners, and other staff in meeting CACFP nutrition standards that include a greater variety of vegetables, more whole grains, and less added sugars and saturated fat.


MyPlate is the current nutrition guide published by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, a food circle (i.e. a pie chart) depicting a place setting with a plate and glass divided into five food groups. MyPlate is a reminder to find a healthy eating style and maintain it throughout the life cycle.

Institute of Child Nutrition

The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) is the only federally funded national center dedicated to applied research, education and training, and technical assistance for child nutrition programs. The Institute’s mission is to provide information and services that promote the continuous improvement of child nutrition programs.

USDA Healthy Meals Menu Planning Tools

USDA Menu Planning Toolkit includes nutrient analysis, meal buying guide, samples menus, and training for food service providers



Farm to Preschool

Farm to Preschool


Farm to Preschool is an extension of the national Farm to School movement that started with school gardening and connecting farms to schools. Farm to Preschool includes early childhood programs, preschools, Head Start programs, and center based programs serving local foods, and providing hands-on educational activities. Farm to preschool works to connect early child care and education settings to local food producers with the objectives of serving locally-grown, healthy foods, providing related nutrition education, and improving child nutrition. Farm to preschool activities can increase children’s willingness to try new foods and help them become familiar with the local foods that they will see in school.

Ways to Participate:

  1. Grow edible gardens in your center
  2. Cook with kids using locally sourced produce
  3. Take field trips to local farms
  4. Offer taste tests of regional produce in seasoCollaborate with local growers to offer foods during meal time

Helpful Links:

Nebraska Department of Education Resources: https://www.education.ne.gov/ns/CACFP/F2Preschool/index.html

USDA Community Food Systems Resources:

National Farm to School Network:

Find a Local Farmer’s Market

Center for Rural Affairs Farm to School Guide:





Nutritional and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) is an evidenced based intervention to improve child care quality that targets children from birth to five years old. The program provides free resources to equip programs with education, skills, and tools in the categories of breastfeeding, child nutrition, physical activity, personal health and wellness, obesity prevention, and family engagement.

Topics include:

  1. Infant & Child Physical Activity
  2. This module discusses how physical activity affects children and provides the physical activity recommendations for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Providers will learn how to help children develop physically active behaviors and create a child care environment that promotes the development of active children.
  3. Personal Health & Wellness
  4. This module names the benefits of and recommendations for physical activity and discusses healthy eating behaviors. Providers will identify the effects of stress and learn ways to manage it, as well develop possible solutions to the barriers that prevent people from engaging in physical activity and maintaining healthy eating habits.
  5. Early Care Matters: Obesity Prevention
  6. This module describes the current obesity epidemic in the U.S. and discusses factors in the environment that make it hard to eat healthy and move more. Providers will identify the possible consequences of being overweight for children and learn about the role that early childhood professionals can play in promoting good nutrition and physical activity habits.
  7. Nutrition for Young Children
  8. This module provides best practices and tips for foods offered in child care. Providers will learn about healthy meal components and receive information about why good nutrition matters for developing bodies. Child care staff play an important role in creating healthy eating patterns.
  9. Growing Healthy Children Together: Promoting Family Engagement
  10. This module defines and discusses family engagement and reviews effective ways of communicating with families. Providers will explore and identify strategies for engaging families to better support child development.
  11. Supporting Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding in Child Care
    For more information, please contact Emily Hulse at ehulse@childrensomaha.org 
  12. This module describes the recommendations for infant feeding and benefits of breastfeeding for mother and infant. Providers will learn about their role in promoting and supporting healthy infant feeding and breastfeeding, and learn techniques such as on demand feeding and breastfeeding basics.

USDA Resources for Child Care Providers

CACFP Menu Planning Guide (Wisconsin)

Sixteen weeks of cycle menus, recipes that are CACFP creditable shopping lists to go with menus, and guidance regarding choking hazards and allergies.

Setting the Stage for Eating Well: The Nutrition Environment (Missouri)

Presentation introduces preschool teachers and food service staff to the benefits of family-style meals.


Eat Smart, Child Care (Missouri)

Set of nutrition related recommendations and support materials for child care facilities.



 Mealtime Minutes – Inspiring Success: Illinois Child Care Wellness Team Nutrition Training Sub-grants

This bonus Mealtime Minutes highlights Work Plans submitted by child care facilities that received an Illinois Child Care Wellness— Team Nutrition Training Sub-grant. It provides many great examples of nutrition and wellness education activities and may be used as a resource to enhance health and wellness efforts at your own child care facilities.


 Mealtime Assessment for Child Care Centers (Minnesota) 

The Child Care Mealtime Assessment is a tool for evaluating the meal environment in a child care center. To complete the assessment, centers examine the serving and dining spaces where children eat meals and indicate whether each statement is true by checking the corresponding box. Unchecked boxes are areas to consider for future implementation to improve the meal environment.


 Leap of Taste: Child Care Nutrition Standards (West Virginia)

Child care nutrition standards, divided into four key components: Beverages, Fruits and Vegetables, Grains and Bread, and Meat/Meat Alternates. Materials include food prep videos, administrative tools, menu planning, menus and recipes, and more.


  Family Fun, Food, and Fitness Event Planning Guide (Kansas)

Guidebook provides instructions for planning and promoting a health-centered, family-friendly, school or child care center sponsored event, and includes specific instructions detailing both nutrition and fitness activities.


 Rainy Day Physical Activity Ideas (Georgia)

Child care providers can use these ideas to help children in their care to be physically active indoors. From the Caregivers Promoting Health Habits (link is external) program.


  Wellness in Alaska Child Care: Best Practices

Best practices for healthy eating and physical activity in the child care setting.


 The First Years in the First State Toolkit: Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity Quality in Delaware Child Care

A guide for child care providers to meet Delaware nutrition and physical activity requirements. Includes 16 weeks of approved menu cycles and recipes, shopping lists and tips, age-appropriate physical activities, and ideas for engaging children, staff, parents and the community.


Flavor Shakers (Iowa)

Chef Deanna Olson created these low-sodium herb/seasoning mixtures to be utilized in child care and schools to decrease sodium consumption.

 Snacks from A to Z (Iowa)

A handout for child care centers, home childcares, and preschools that lists snack ideas according to letter.

Action Guide for Child Care Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies (Connecticut)

The action guide is intended to help local and community child care, early education and afterschool programs establish and implement policies and practices that encourage healthy lifestyles in children.

No- to Low-Cost Ways to Promote Physical Activity in the Child Care Setting

This card set provides fun and interactive physical activities for young children that can be done without costly equipment.

Iowa CACFP Healthier Menu Toolkit

These materials are part of the Healthier Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Award in Iowa. Healthier CACFP is a recognition system that supports the wellness efforts of child care centers and homes participating in CACFP.



CACFP Online Modules

CACFP Online Modules

Nebraska Team Nutrition is providing additional free training for CACFP centers and day care homes to support them in providing healthy, balanced meals and snacks to the children and adults they serve. Trainings can be completed on your own time and include a training video and printable resources and links.

Moodle Link https://moodle.education.ne.gov

Topics include:

  •    Whole Grains  
  • Providers will learn about the difference between whole grains and refined grains and learn about the benefits of serving more whole grain and whole grain-rich items to the children in their care. This module discusses creditable items for CACFP menus and provides best practices, tips, and resources to create healthy meals. Image: WholeGrains
  •    Fruits and Vegetables 
  • The fruit and vegetable categories are now two separate meal components. Providers will learn about new meal pattern requirements and receive practical solutions for menu planning, shopping with the season, and ideas for encouraging children to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables. The module will detail the benefits of a diet rich in produce and all of the nutrients provided by these items. Image: Fruits&Vegetables
  •    Serving Milk 
  • This module reviews the fluid milk requirements for different age groups and discusses the use of creditable substitutions in the CACFP meal pattern. Image: ServingMilk
  •    Meat and Meat Alternates 
  • In the new CACFP guidelines many meat alternates are now creditable meal components. Providers will lean about the benefits of adding these diverse and low cost options into their menus and the important of consuming lean protein items. Image: Meat&MeatAlternates
  •    Reading Food Labels   
  • There are many different labels on food packages. This module reviews common food labels on the front, back, and side of packaged foods and describes how to locate key nutrient information. Providers will learn about what information is required on a food label and discuss the updates to the nutrition facts label. Image: NutritionLabels
  •    Feeding Infants
  • Infant age groups have simplified and there are new recommendations for infant age groups. Providers will learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and receiving reimbursement for women that breastfeed at your facility or provide expressed breastmilk for their infant. This module also addresses developmental readiness for introducing solid foods. Image: Infant MealPattern

More coming soon


For more information, please contact Christy Burger with Team Nutrition at cburger2@unl.edu.

Eat Family Style Dining

   EAT Family Style                      

Ecological Approach to Family Style Dining (EAT FSD) is a research initiative at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The EAT FSD approach provides holistic training for childcare providers for meeting the recommendations for feeding young children (2-5 years) to decrease the incidence of childhood obesity. Family style dining (FSD) is a widely recommended practice for feeding children in childcare. During family style dining, providers sit and eat meals together with children and children select their own portions and serve themselves.

The EAT Curriculum includes 7 interactive, online lessons, each lesson takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete. Throughout the lessons, you will watch short videos and practice easy strategies to empower yourself to practice FSD and transform your mealtime to be the most enjoyable part of the day!

Topics include:

  1. Parent engagement
  2. Modeling healthy eating
  3. Supporting peer modeling
  4. Children serving themselves
  5. Praising children for trying new foods
  6. Sensory nutrition education
  7. Supporting self-regulation

For more information, please contact Dipti Dev with University of Nebraska-Lincoln at ddev2@unl.edu





Eat Play and Grow


Eat Play Grow

Eat Play Grow is an early childhood health curriculum that teaches children and their caregivers how to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices. The curriculum offers a series of 11 healthy lifestyle lessons with hands-on activities, essential facts, and simple strategies that make healthy choices fun and easy to include in daily routines. Each educational lesson addresses the multiple ways children learn through storytelling, art-making, and music and movement activities to teach the importance of making positive choices in the areas that most affect health.

Topics include:

  1. My Five Senses
  2. Families use their five senses to understand how to listen to their body’s nutrition and physical activity needs.
  3. GO, SLOW, WHOA!
  4. Families learn the three We Can! food categories and how to recognize foods that are better choices for a healthy body.
  5. Fabulous Fruits
  6. Families learn the importance of eating a variety of fruit every day as they learn to categorize, count, and sort fruit choices.
  7. Move to the Beat
  8. Families learn the importance of physical activity and are introduced to heart health through music, rhythm, and physical activity.
  9. Energy Balance
  10. To attain a healthy weight, families learn energy in (foods eaten) must balance with energy out (physical activity).
  11. I Love My Veggies!
  12. Families learn the importance of eating vegetables every day as they explore color, textures, and patterns, and learn new vocabulary.
  13. Perfect Portion
  14. Families learn the important connection between portion control and healthy meals.
  15. Dem Bones
    1. Families are introduced to the skeletal system and the importance of calcium to build strong bones.
  16. Healthy Beverages
    1. Families discover the benefits of drinking fat-free or low-fat milk and water instead of sweetened beverages.
  17. Smart Sleep
    1. Families learn that developing a healthy sleep routine is as important as proper nutrition and physical activity.
  18. Family Meal
    1. A chef-led class provides strategies for creating an easy, well-balanced, affordable meal, and a positive meal time environment.

For more information, please contact Christy Burger with Team Nutrition at cburger2@unl.edu.


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