EARLY CHILD CARE CENTERS
First Bites, a non-profit organization, runs programs designed both to teach 2-to 5-year olds to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and to listen to their own hunger and fullness cues, and trains teachers and families on how to make eating healthy food fun.
Our work weaves nutrition and culinary education into the existing 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.
We have worked with hundreds of early child care teachers, administrators, students and families from Charter Schools, private preschools and non-profit early child care centers in the Washington DC area to get them excited about eating fruits and vegetables and teach them how to make small and simple changes to their diets that can have a big impact on their lives.
We also offer:
Training sessions for teachers on topics including: nutrition fundamentals, introducing new foods in the classroom, communicating with families about healthy eating, encouraging children to eat more fruits & vegetables;
One, Three &12-week edible education programs that includes intensive teacher training, weekly fruit and vegetable tastings and recipes designed specifically for 2-5 year olds to prepare, and games and activities to teach healthy eating habits. We also facilitate discussions with families and do weekly outreach to families during the course of the program;
A review of your snack menu and development of a new, healthier snack menu, keeping in mind dietary limitations, budget, storage space and purchasing parameters;
Development of a wellness policy specific to your early child care center;
Development of a birthday party policy and classroom rewards policy;
Facilitated discussions with families on topics including: packing healthy school lunches, quick dinner solutions and strategies for getting children to eat at dinner time, tasty and satisfying snack ideas, recipes and strategies to introduce new foods to your family, and menu planning and how to develop meals and most the most of time and ingredients.
If you are eligible for federal and state funds for food, we can analyze your feeding operation and make sure you are accessing all possible grant programs.
*We have subsidizes available for schools that qualify.
To learn more about the program or apply to be a part of the First Bites program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Administrators & Teachers:
“The earlier we start exposing children to a variety of whole foods, the easier it will be for children to make healthier choices. First Bite's activities are a fun way to introduce new foods to children. Our children and teachers enjoyed preparing and eating the recipes provided by the program.”- Bea Zuluaga, Director, Food & Nutrition Department, CentroNía, a bilingual child development center in Washington, D.C.
“Our students love the First Bites program, and we’ve noticed an uptick in fruit and vegetable consumption at snack time and throughout the day,” Kenede Herbert, Early Childhood Education Teacher, CentroNía, a bilingual child development center in Washington, D.C.
“First Bites came to our center to do a one-time class with the children, and we do hope we will be able to continue a relationship with the program. The way the foods were presented was both educational for the children and for the teachers. The approach emphasized learning about the foods and trying new things (not just tasting, but learning to use tools), and nothing was forced. The children were enthusiastic about the experience, even those who were skeptical at first. I especially loved the way the children were asked to describe what they tasted without using the words good, bad, yuck, or yum. The children were challenged to be more descriptive, and it encouraged each child to think about the taste and texture, rather than to judge.”
– Kelley Frye, Director, Bright Horizons Washington DC I Street
“I loved the presentation to the point that I want to learn how to teach my children to eat healthier.” – Frances, Teacher at YMCA Calomiris, NE DC
“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.” - Joanie Smeltz, 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
"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.”