Healthy Feeding Practices

Using healthy feeding practices contributes to a positive classroom environment. Encouraging children to try new foods while respecting their hunger, fullness, and food choices helps them build healthy eating habits.

Application Documentation

In your REACH Child Nutrition application, you will upload documentation of meeting the healthy feeding practices best practices along with offering healthy foods, engaging with families around healthy eating and including child nutrition in the facility’s policy.

REACH Application DocumentationGo NAP SACC Evidence-Based Practices
Please provide one story from a recent toddler or preschool meal time that shows what an authoritative feeding style* looks like in the facility. What does the teacher say or do to be encouraging and make mealtimes positive and pleasant?CN31 Teachers use an authoritative feeding style during every meal and snack time.

*An authoritative feeding style (also known as, diplomatic or responsive) strikes a balance between encouraging children to eat healthy foods and allowing children to make their own food choices. Caregivers talk with children about the food, praise children for trying new foods, and stay positive.

Tips for your documentation:

  • Stories should “paint a picture” of mealtime. Describe the age group, the meal time set-up, and what teachers say and do to be encouraging and make mealtimes positive and pleasant. This may include quotes and descriptions of how they encourage children to try new foods; how they respect children’s choices about what and how much to eat; how they talk about the food being served, etc.
  • Resources/Stories should be from the past 12 months.


See the story below from a past applicant.

The 2/3 year old class is working towards trying new foods. The teacher has created a “family” like atmosphere with table/seat placement, including a chair for herself along with the children. As the children/teacher serve themselves, the teacher talks about what foods they are having that day. “Oh my, we are having broccoli and carrots with our chicken today. I like the broccoli, it looks like a tree and I can eat the entire thing. Yum, do you like the broccoli? How about the carrots? They taste sweet and crunchy. How many colors are you eating today?” The children respond with excitement over colors, textures, and tasting. Even if they don’t want to bite it yet, encouragement is still given.”

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