Healthy Habits Skills

Offering infants and toddlers nutritious foods sets the stage for healthy eating habits

hand reaching for fruit in a bowl

At A Glance

As young children explore new foods, they may be more or less willing to try unfamiliar items. We can promote healthy eating habits by considering children’s preferences and needs and offering nutritious foods multiple times. We can allow children to decide whether to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat. When we encourage children to eat healthy foods, we nourish their bodies and make it more likely that they will reach for healthy foods in the future.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can support infants' and toddlers' healthy eating habits

Offer Choice

Promote healthy eating habits by offering children nutritious foods multiple times and allowing them to decide whether to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat.

Talk About Food

Support children’s positive thoughts and habits around healthy eating by talking about food in fun, positive ways.

Try New Foods

Model and narrate healthy food choices by labeling food and encouraging children to try new foods.


Rah, Rah, Radishes!

Written and illustrated by April Pulley Sayre, this book introduces a wide variety of vegetables using a rhythmic chant and celebrates their different looks and flavors.

Rah Rah Radish Book Cover
1 big salad book cover


1 Big Salad

Written and illustrated by Juana Medina, this story introduces many nutritious fruits and vegetables that can be put together to create a delicious dish.


Support Through Gardening

This article from NPR discusses the benefits of including young children in gardening activities to support them through trauma and develop healthy habits.


Promoting Healthy Habits

This article from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals outlines ways to introduce new foods, make mealtimes pleasant, and ensure that toddlers get the nutrients they need.


Reducing Food Insecurity

This article from PR Newswire describes what food insecurity means for children and offers ways to promote better nutrition.

Activity Cards for Infant and Toddler Classrooms

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways to help older infants and toddlers develop healthy habits
Activity Card - focus on feeding - regulate move
talk about food

Focus on Feeding

Use puppets or dolls to model feeding and talk about feeling hungry, full, or energized after eating.

Activity Card - Mindful Munching - Move and Regulate
explore with the senses

Mindful Munching

Draw attention to the way different foods look, smell, and taste as you share a meal with children.

Activity Card - Rainbow Plate - Move and Regulate
try new foods

Rainbow Plate

Encourage children to select and try healthy foods of all colors.

Activity Card - We're Going on a Food Hunt - Move and Regulate
find new food

We’re Going on a Food Hunt

A scavenger hunt can be a fun way to label and talk about different foods.


Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of the Core Skills