Healthy Food Program - Getting Kids to Eat New Foods

August 08, 2019

  8.8.19 Healthy Food Program – so cool it’s freezing.

If you’re looking for a super simple, super cool activity to beat the heat with kids, here’s one that’s sure to be a winner. It certainly was with Room 1’s students recently.

They made yogurt popsicles, by mixing yogurt and fruit, pouring their mixture into a cup, inserting pop-sticks, and freezing.

Wow, what a lot of great skill-building opportunities here – from mixing and pouring, to the science of freezing. All of that on top of the thrill of the taste of a frozen pop. You can almost feel the brain freeze!

The activity was very popular; teacher, Mrs. Kathy reports that this was a definite hit with her students.


7.23.19    At Crossroads we’re quite into our Healthy Food Program.

Getting kids to try new foods can sometimes be a challenge for families at home. Parents tell us this all the time. At Crossroads, we’re quite used to the “picky eater” syndrome; a large percentage of our population experiences difficulties with foods.

It’s the reason for our Healthy Food program at Crossroads. Through this program we repeatedly offer new, healthy food choices, work through challenging behaviors that children might exhibit in response to the presence of non-preferred foods and teach about nutrition and healthy food concepts. Essentially we get the students to try new things and expand their repertoire of healthy choices.

As you can imagine, this takes creativity on the part of the teachers. How to get a child to try broccoli when they balk at the sight of green foods? Or cheese when they don’t like anything white?

Our teachers come up with a wide variety of exciting food preparation activities to meet the individual needs of their classrooms.

From cheese stick snowmen to banana butterflies, the healthy food activities are aimed at tying into the classroom themes and incorporating new foods as well as familiar ones that children need repetition with. By making the foods theme related, children are engaged in a greater way and bridges are built between what they already understand and what they are challenged by.

Our Pinterest Healthy Food board

Here are some peaks into Room 12’s recent project. They are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and practicing the fine motor skills of spreading and cutting. Further, this activity has them using star-shaped cookie cutters to make their sandwiches into starfish, tying into their seashore theme.

Research shows a correlation between healthy eating and involvement in food preparation. In other words, it seems that kids who are involved in preparation of their food are more likely to eat it. By making their own snacks, students are more likely to actually eat them. Plus, by making foods together with their class, there are opportunities for kids to model the eating behaviors of kids who enjoy eating the food in question.

Crossroads is ever thankful to The Schenectady Foundation for their generous grant that enabled us to start up this program in a school-wide, consistent manner several years ago. Crossroads is also thankful to the Allen Family Foundation for a grant to expand and sustain the program into this current year.

A new grant application for the 2019-20 school year is in the works. If you would like to donate to this or any of the programs at Crossroads, please visit our DONATE page and let us know of your wishes.

Crossroads Center for Children is located in Rotterdam, NY. We offer preschool, nursery school, daycare and elementary school classrooms for students aged 2-12 years old. Call us for more information! (518) 280-0083

12.3.18 – The Healthy Food Program Takes the Elevator
Each week, one classroom takes their turn to push the Healthy Food Program snack cart around from room to room, offering healthy snacks.

The students love picking veggies and fruits from the cart when offered by their peers. The students whose turn it is love pushing and asking friends if they want to try celery, cucumbers, bananas, and so on.

Last week it was Room 4’s turn, and they were so cute in the elevator! The teachers asked the students to push number 2 for the second floor, giving the boys a chance to work on identifying numbers. Then, the doors shut and the elevator started to go up as the number was pushed. The adorable facial expressions were just priceless!

Crossroads remains ever thankful for the grants that fund this important program. The Schenectady Foundation has been a long-time funder of our Healthy Food Program and this  year, a grant from the Allen Foundation is also supporting this work.

Sep 11, 2018 – Off to a Healthy Food Start

The start of the school year, which started last week, means many things, including gearing up the Healthy Food Program in each classroom. It’s a program to target the many food difficulties that many of our students experience, and a way to get them eating good things from an early age.

Here is Room 14 last week enjoying a Healthy Food Program activity of making their own fruit salad. Making choices, trying new foods, using functional communication and behavior to tolerate new items in proximity and more!

This program area is funded by grants! Thank you to The Schenectady Foundation and the Allen Family Foundation for this year’s support.

Looking back – a post from Dec 21, 2017

Did you ever make a waffle Christmas tree? Room 6 did recently!


As part of their Healthy Food Group, they made their waffle mix together and added green food coloring to the bowl. The teachers used a waffle maker while the kids watched in awe, and when the cooking part was done, triangles were cut and the children got to place them to create trees!  Next came decorating their trees with m&m “ornaments” and a bit of maple syrup.       Since trying new foods is a goal, some children in the class needed some coaxing to try this, but everyone took a bite and several of the children finished their plates. How much fun was for the students and what a creative way to tie in the season!  

The Healthy Food Program is goal-oriented to bring about healthy eating patterns for all of our children here, and carry over to home when many parents try the recipes or ingredients that were made in the classroom at home. Most of our teachers agree that repeated attempts are necessary to get children who have food difficulties to tolerate and try new foods, so the more tries the better. This grant-funded program has been strongly supported by The Schenectady Foundation this year, and is greatly appreciated!

Room 6 is one of the seven classrooms for preschool and nursery children. Crossroads Center for Children also has three school-aged classrooms and is getting ready to open a fourth. Students come from many districts and counties in the surrounding region. Many of our nursery and daycare students come right from the local vicinity.

Speech and Language Therapists, addressing much more than speaking.What we mean when we say “life skills.”