Practical Strategies for All Young Eaters
Meaningful Mealtimes
Early Childhood

Mealtimes in early learning settings present rich opportunities for connection, learning, and positive food experiences. Make the most of mealtimes—and prevent and address common feeding challenges—with this user-friendly planning guide, the first of its kind for early childhood educators and care providers.

Contains Companion Materials
Coming Soon!$34.95
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STOCK NUMBER ISBN
58249 978-1-68125-824-9
COPYRIGHT PAGES
2025 280
AVAILABILITY
Not Yet Published

Mealtimes in early learning settings present rich opportunities for connection, learning, and positive food experiences. Make the most of mealtimes—and prevent and address common feeding challenges—with this user-friendly planning guide, the first of its kind for early childhood educators and care providers.

Written by a cross-disciplinary team of professionals, this book empowers you to make meaningful changes to mealtime routines that benefit children of all ability levels and cultural backgrounds. Through a tiered approach based on MTSS, you'll deliver mealtime supports that respond to each child's needs and foster safety, autonomy, connection, nourishment, interest, and inclusion for all. How-to guidance, helpful examples, and practical tools make the strategies easy to implement, and the focus on equity and cultural responsiveness will help you consider how to shape mealtimes that welcome children with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

With the flexible, practical, and inclusive approach in this book, you’ll use best practices to make mealtimes fulfilling and meaningful experiences for all young children.

LEARN HOW TO:

  • Identify and address feeding challenges inproactive and culturally responsive ways
  • Develop a vision for mealtimesand set clear goals to improve the mealtime experience
  • Apply five core practicesthat can enhance your current mealtime routines
  • Encourage children to exploreand build comfort with a variety of foods
  • Incorporate literacy, math, and other skillsinto mealtime to make it a powerful learning experience
  • Use mealtime conversations to increase children’s social connections, autonomy, and awareness of food origins and food justice 
  • Use ongoing assessmentto make decisions and track progress toward your goals
  • Strengthen the connection between your program and homeby cultivating collaborative relationships with families

About the Downloads

About the Authors

Acknowledgments

Introduction

I Making the Most of Mealtime

1 Introduction to the Tiered Approach

2 Defining Mealtime Challenges

3 The Big Picture

II Gathering Information, Setting Goals, and Assessing Progress

4 Starting with Self-Reflection

5 Gathering Information About Your Setting

6 Gathering Information About Children and Families

7 Goal Setting

8 Assessment and Decision Making

III Strategies for Supporting All Children at Mealtime

9 Building the Foundation for Supported and Fulfilling Mealtimes

10 Supporting Communication and Conversation

11 Encouraging Mealtime Participation and Food Interactions

12 Incorporating Additional Goals and Curriculum Content

13 Bridging Connections Between Home and Early Learning Settings

14 Problem Solving and Next Steps

Appendix A For Further Exploration

Appendix B Additional Resources

References

Index

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