Published: October 2021

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Dietary recommendations are available about what to feed children ages 2 to 8 for optimal health, but relatively little guidance exists about how to feed those children. Because of the discrepancy between young children’s recommended and actual dietary intakes, there is a clear need for such guidance. To address this gap, Healthy Eating Research convened a national panel of experts to develop evidence-based best practices and recommendations for promoting healthy nutrition and feeding patterns among children 2 to 8 years of age.

The report presents over 30 recommendations for parents and caregivers. The recommendations reflect evidence that shows autonomy, structure, and repetition are key to helping young children develop healthy eating habits.


Technical Report

This report presents evidence-based recommendations for promoting healthy eating behaviors in children aged 2 to 8. Recommendations reflect expert consensus on current scientific knowledge in two broad areas: (1) promoting acceptance of healthful foods; and (2) promoting healthy appetites and growth. The technical report contains the full review of evidence and methodology used to develop the recommendations.


Executive Summary

This summary highlights the evidence reviewed in developing the recommendations, presents the recommendations on promoting acceptance of healthy foods and appetites to support healthy growth and weight in 2- to 8-year-old children, and identifies key information that can benefit health and childcare professionals working with families of children ages 2 to 8.


Tips for Families

Check out our suite of materials for parents and caregivers including tip sheets, graphics, videos, and answers to common feeding and eating challenges.

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