Healthy Eating Before Five Years Old

Healthy eating habits begin early.

Did you know that a child's eating habits can be established as early as two years old? Or that 95% of a child's brain development occurs before age five?

These are just two reasons why TLC focuses on child health and nutrition both in our preschool classrooms and our pediatric therapy services. Our two garden beds, installed by TLC alum Cooper Knight, are just one way we integrate activities related to healthy food selection, overcoming fears of new foods, cooking, the science of healthy bodies, and the science of food production.

In our classrooms, students are fed healthy snacks in a nut-free, allergen-sensitive facility. Children in both classrooms and therapy sessions learn to make their own healthy snacks from fresh ingredients, many of which are grown by the children in our two on-site garden beds during the spring and summer.

Poor nutrition contributes to delays in intellectual development by causing brain damage, illness, and delays of motor skill development (e.g. crawling and walking). Early shortages in nutrients can reduce cell production; later shortages can affect cell size and complexity. Nutrient deficits also affect the complex chemical processes of the brain and can lead to less efficient communication between brain cells, potentially crippling a child’s cognitive potential for life.

A variety of positive food experiences and activities can help develop good eating habits and food preferences in children. TLC’s programs strive to provide these positive experiences daily, and provides opportunities for parents to gain further information on continuing healthy nutrition habits at home.

Toddler & Preschool Protein-Packed Superfoods:

  • Eggs

  • Oatmeal

  • Peanut Butter

  • Avocados

  • Salmon

  • Black Beans

  • Nuts & Seeds

  • Lentils

  • Green vegetables

Zero to Three, a program of the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, states that brain development is most sensitive to a child’s nutrition between mid-gestation and two years old. Children who are malnourished do not adequately grow physically or mentally. Their brains can be smaller than normal because of reduced dendritic growth, reduced myelination, and the production of fewer glia (supporting cells). A newborn’s brain is only about ¼ the size of an adult’s, and grows to be 80% of adult size by age three, and 90% by age five, when a preschooler graduates from TLC, making their time at TLC one of the most critical periods in their development for adequate nutrition acquisition.

If you'd like to learn more about how TLC works to build healthy minds and bodies through our birth - 5 preschool classrooms and birth - 12 pediatric therapy services, contact us today at (303) 776-7417.