Learning About Nutrition Through Activities
Menu and Mealtime Overview
It is up to you to decide how to adjust your menus to make room for the fruit and vegetable additions. Some suggestions and considerations for adding the fruits and vegetables to your menus are below.
Targeted Fruits and Vegetables: There are eight targeted fruits and vegetables featured in the LANA Preschool Program. To avoid overwhelming the children and to maintain excitement for the new fruits and vegetables, we recommend dividing the eight into two groups. Incorporate the fruits and vegetables from the first group (A) into your menus the first week, those from the second group (B) into the second week, alternating throughout the program.
Lunch: When you offer the targeted fruits and vegetables at lunch, you can substitute them for other fruits and vegetables. In some instances, you may wish to serve a fruit or vegetable in addition to those you would normally serve.
Snack: An important part of the LANA Preschool Program is serving a fruit or vegetable at snack everyday. This can be a targeted fruit or vegetable or a fruit or vegetable that is already on your menus. The purpose of serving fruits and vegetables at snack is to help the children begin to think of them as “normal” snacks.
To help encourage children to taste fruits and vegetables, try substituting healthy alternatives (string cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs) for competitive foods (chips, cookies, brownies).
Remember: Do not be discouraged if the children do not readily accept the new fruits and vegetables. Experience shows that children are not likely to make changes immediately. Be sure to keep offering the targeted fruits and vegetables throughout the program.
To help children accept the new fruits and vegetables:
- Be a good role model – eat the fruits and vegetables yourself!
- Offer verbal encouragement for the children to take and taste new fruits and vegetables.
- Praise children for tasting and eating new fruits and vegetables.
- Do not pressure, force or bribe children to taste any new foods they do not want to eat.