First Bites is a ten-week program designed to inspire and support healthy habits among 2- to 5-year-olds, their families and early child care providers. The program weaves weekly nutrition and culinary education into the fabric of early child care to increase children’s exposure to a variety of fruits and vegetables, expand their knowledge about healthy eating habits and increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables.
First Bites launched its first pilot program in 2013 at a Maryland preschool with almost 50 children between the ages of 2 and 4. In the 2013-14 academic year, we have five Washington D.C.-area child care centers participating in the program, including two Washington D.C. Public Charter Schools
We are currently taking applications for early child care centers in the Washington, DC area for Fall, 2014.
Gives children exposure to fruits and vegetables through weekly cooking classes and age-appropriate classroom nutrition activities.
Supports child care educators with training and mentoring designed to foster healthy eating habits.
Provides ongoing outreach to families so they can reinforce at home what the children are experiencing and learning about in the classroom.
"I really love First Bites. My two and a half year old daughter came home today from school and had made blueberry cucumber smoothies. She and her friends and her teachers had worked together in combining the ingredients and tasting their own recipe. She proudly explained that it was purple."
"My two and a half year old is talking more about her experience with foods and continuing to enjoy lots of choices. At dinner this past week out of the blue she started talking about 'crunchy' and 'salty.'"
"First Bites has encouraged our family to find opportunities to include our children in preparing our food. One morning last week, my two year old diligently washed our raspberries, blackberries and grapes, carefully rinsing each one. It was a simple way of including her in preparing the family meal and something we thought of because of First Bites."
"We love the focus on healthy foods and including children in preparing and experiencing the foods that the First Bites program has brought to our school."
From Students via their Teachers:
It was a busy day making a special smoothie at the cooking center. It was made with cucumber, blueberries, coconut milk and banana. All the children took a taste. Comments included:
“This is the goodest smoothie I’ve ever tasted in my life.”
“I like it in my tummy.”
A teacher asked, “Do you think you will make this smoothie at home?” One child said, " Yes”. Another said, “I think so.” And another said, “I will ask my mom to make it.”
“The First Bites program has been a wonderful addition to our curriculum. The program is much more than learning about healthy eating. First Bites encourages children to take risks as they try new foods, promotes independence through participating in all aspects of the cooking experience, provides the teachers with a framework regarding how to create a dialogue with children regarding healthy eating habits, and offers the families a myriad of recipes to try at home, which encourage children to begin to make healthy choices for life.” - Director, OK Early Childhood Education
“Thank you so very much for the workshop last week for the parents. I have had just wonderful feedback from the parents that participated…they really enjoyed meeting you and learning about the things that you were sharing. Several have requested that we do a follow-up workshop in the near future. I really thought it went terrific also!!” – Bini Silver, DCJCC
To learn more about the program or apply to be a part of the First Bites program, please email email@example.com.