Meal & Nutrition Services

Good nutrition plays a critical role in children’s overall health. At Head Start, we know that children who are well nourished and fed a healthy, well-balanced diet are better equipped to thrive in the classroom. We also know that eating preferences and habits learned in early childhood set the trajectory for eating behaviors into adolescence and adulthood. One goal of Jefferson County Head Start is to stop the trend towards childhood obesity by providing healthy food and nutrition education to young children and their families through its Nutrition programs.

Meal Requirements

As part of their attendance at Head Start, children are provided meals and snacks that:

  • Provide a minimum of 1/3 of the child’s Daily Nutritional Needs as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Are high in nutrients and low in fats, sugar, and salt
  • Broaden a child’s food experience and take into account children’s cultural and ethnic preferences
  • Meet the nutritional and feeding requirements of each child, including those with special dietary needs and children with disabilities

Children establish eating habits as early as age 2! Jefferson County Head Start partners with families to build healthy eating habits early. One way we do this is to serve all meals and snacks family-style. Family-style meals are a great way to introduce healthy foods, model healthy behaviors, and provide opportunities for nutrition education. It is also an opportunity for children to have meaningful conversations with adults and develop social relationships.

  1. Family-Style Meals
  2. Nutrition
  3. Scratch Kitchen
  4. Breastfeeding

Serving Family-Style Meals

  • Introduces healthy foods to children and encourages them to try new ones
  • Provides opportunities for nutrition education such as teaching serving sizes or talking about healthy foods and food groups
  • Allows children to see adults model healthy eating
  • Teaches food safety by encouraging hand washing and the use of serving utensils
  • Builds independence by allowing children to make decisions and take responsibility
  • Develops fine and gross motor skills by asking children to pour, pass, serve, and share food
  • Enhances language and social skills when children practice table manners and learn appropriate meal time behavior
  • Improves meal time behavior
  • Reinforces basic concept skills from the classroom such as naming shapes, colors, flavors, and textures