Nutritious Meals and Snacks for Preschoolers

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Farm to Preschool programs can increase the nutrition quality of preschool meals while strengthening the connection with food by helping our students understand food, enjoy food and choose foods that support lifelong health. Combining a Farm to Preschool program with nutritious meals and nutrition education will help children make healthy choices that would last a lifetime.

The Washington Grown Food Kit includes Farm to Preschool recipes adapted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. These recipes listed under "Recipes for Child Care Programs" highlight Washington grown produce and include USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) crediting information. Recognizing that snacks serve as an important source of nutrients and provide opportunities to incorporate healthy Washington grown produce into the diet, recipes are listed for both meals and snacks. Recipe adaptation is supported by the City of Seattle Human Services Department Youth and Farmily Empowerment (YFE) Division, and adapted recipes represent the diversity of the children in the child care programs under YFE. Recipe adaptation is an ongoing effort, and WSDA Farm to School would like your contribution!

**You can also find a list of cookbooks from around the United States that feature recipes with fresh local products at our Farm to School Cookbooks page. (also accessible from WA Grown Food Kit main page)**

To tailor recipes to make best use of available Washington-grown agricultural products, see the Washington-Grown Seasonality Charts Poster:

 Farm to Table Seasonality Charts Poster

Menu Planning Resources

The links below will assist in incorporating local agricultural products into your meals that meet National guidelines.


USDA Menu Magic Cover image Menu Magic For Children by USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program

This menu planning guide offers an overview of the USDA Child and Adult Care Program (CACFP) guidelines and tips for successful menu planning.  It is geared towards child care homes.


Healthy Bites by Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

This document includes general information about healthy foods and tips about how to incorporate this advice into menu planning and policies. Additional topics discussed include picky eaters, children with special dietary needs, nutrition education, menu planning, gardening, and locally grown food. Although from Wisconsin, this guide could easily be adapted to Washington or other states.




Canada Smart Snacks in Child Care Setting banner

Smart Snacking in Child Care Settings by Interior Health Canada

A quick overview of healthy snacks in child care settings, provided by the Canadian Interior of Health.


The South Dakota Physical Activities and Healthy Snacks for Young Children by South Dakota Department of Education and USDA Team Nutrition

In addition to providing healthy snack recipes, this tool includes a simple, helpful section on the components of a healthy snack. These general guidelines may prove useful when modifying snack recipes or creating your own.

Make snack time fun and interactive for children! Encourage preschoolers to have fun with their food. The pictures below may serve as inspiration:

Source: Sprout Online Children's Network LLC and First 5 Sacramento Pinterest