Published: October 2021

See more related research

Share


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 (Spanish)

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.

Related Research

January 2024

Food Insecurity and the Child Tax Credit

Food insecurity puts people at risk for many poor physical and mental health outcomes. Food insecurity stayed stable during much of the COVID-19 pandemic but rose significantly from 2021-2022 among U.S. households with children. Many federal supports were offered during the COVID-19 pandemic. These included expansions in food assistance programs like SNAP, as well as More

November 2023

State Agency Perspectives on Successes and Challenges of Administering the Child and Adult Care Food Program

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) improves nutrition and reduces food insecurity for young children while helping cover food costs for care providers and families. Despite its important benefits, the program is underutilized. This report uses qualitative interviews with state CACFP administrators representing 28 states to explore federal and state policies and practices that support or discourage CACFP participation among licensed child More

November 2023

Supporting the Wake Forest School of Medicine in implementing a WIC referral program within electronic health records to optimize WIC participation

The United States has an ongoing maternal and infant health crisis, characterized by stark disparities. The WIC program could equitably improve health outcomes, but it is underutilized. Identifying strategies for healthcare systems to efficiently connect pregnant patients with WIC is a public health and policy priority. This study will use the electronic health record (EHR) More