March is National Nutrition Month

Proper nutrition is crucial to consider when you care for kids, as it protects against malnourishment,
maintains a healthy immune system, prevents obesity and reduces the risk of chronic disease.

Seven Healthy and Child-friendly Habits You Can Form

  1. Keep snacks simple: a piece of fruit or handful of nuts
  2. Eat the rainbow! Create colourful plates with a variety of vegetables
  3. Involve little ones in cooking, even if they are just watching while you explain the process they are still learning
  4. Limit sugary drinks, including juices
  5. Take it slow: don’t rush mealtimes. It can be frustrating when children eat slowly, but this helps them assess their appetite and stop when full
  6. Do not punish a child for not eating, as it can develop a negative association. In some cases, they may feel the need to eat everything on their plate, thereby overeating and not listening to their bodies
  7. Avoid using food as a reward, as it can teach them to rely on it for comfort. Praise and encouragement, sometimes with a hug, can be enough reward for a child
Source: The Importance of Nutrition in Early Childhood (

Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables

According to the American Diabetes Association, mindful eating is based on the practice of mindfulness, which encourages people to be consciously aware of their experiences, whatever they may be. mindful eating is rooted in several principles. These include being nonjudgmental about your eating experience, slowing down and taking your time as you eat, becoming aware of your body's cues, and an awareness of thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.

Source: Mindful Eating for Kids (

Practical Advice on Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetable intake can be improved by:

  • always including vegetables in meals;
  • eating fresh fruit and raw vegetables as snacks;
  • ating fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season; and
  • eating a variety of fruit and vegetables.


Fat intake, especially saturated fat and industrially-produced trans-fat intake, can be reduced by:

  • steaming or boiling instead of frying when cooking;
  • replacing butter, lard and ghee with oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean, canola (rapeseed), corn, safflower and sunflower oils;
  • eating reduced-fat dairy foods and lean meats, or trimming visible fat from meat; and
  • limiting the consumption of baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods (e.g. doughnuts, cakes, pies, cookies, biscuits and wafers) that contain industrially-produced trans-fats.

Salt, Sodium and Potassium

Salt intake can be reduced by:

  • limiting the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (e.g. soy sauce, fish sauce and bouillon) when cooking and preparing foods;
  • not having salt or high-sodium sauces on the table;
  • limiting the consumption of salty snacks; and
  • choosing products with lower sodium content.


Sugar intake can be reduced by:

  • limiting the consumption of foods and drinks containing high amounts of sugars, such as sugary snacks, candies and sugar-sweetened beverages (i.e. all types of beverages containing free sugars – these include carbonated or non‐carbonated soft drinks, fruit or vegetable juices and drinks, liquid and powder concentrates, flavoured water, energy and sports drinks, ready‐to‐drink tea, ready‐to‐drink coffee and flavoured milk drinks); and
  • eating fresh fruit and raw vegetables as snacks instead of sugary snacks.


Family Nutrition to Support Well-Being | Child Welfare Information Gateway

Foster Parents’ Nutritional Strategies and Children’s Well-Being |

Fostering Health: Standards of Care for Children in Foster Care |

How to Avoid Power Struggles With Picky Eaters |

Nutritional Status of Foster Children in the U.S.: Implications for cognitive and behavioral development | PMC (

The Importance of Nutrition in Early Childhood |

About Us

Kentucky's Just in Time Training is a web based service program designed to connect foster parents, kinship or other caregivers with training, peer experts and other resources. Questions are answered and practical solutions to care for children are discussed - all from the comfort of your home or office.


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