No. 1202



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 out of 10 children do not consume enough fruits and vegetables. Considering these foods are nutritional powerhouses that are key in the health of a developing child, one pediatrician has set out to change that. Dr. Yum’s Preschool Food Adventure was created specifically to help children gain an appreciation for fruits and veggies and get them to increase their intake of them at school and at home.
“Many children are not exposed to a lot of fruits and vegetables, and many parents don’t have the information on how to cultivate an appreciation for them” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Va.-based pediatrician who developed The Doctor Yum Project. “If we can reach children at the preschool age and help them develop a good relationship with these foods, it can benefit them for the rest of their life.”
Dr. Fernando, along with Melanie Potock, a world-renowned speech language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding, developed The Doctor Yum’s Preschool Adventure. The unique specialized curriculum was piloted in variety of early childhood centers in Central Virginia and is currently being used in more than 40 classrooms and with more than 600 preschoolers in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The interactive curriculum has been designed to introduce preschoolers to the joy of eating fruits and vegetables, and uses multi-sensory experience to help make that happen.
Through the use of fun characters used in the curriculum, Dr. Yum, Coach Mel and My Munch Bag, there are 18 lessons that can be used over a period of two years. The lessons are each presented by the preschool teacher once a month. Each lesson introduces children to a fruit or vegetable, its nutritional benefits, and guides them in preparing a sample snack using that particular item. This way they get hands-on experience, are able to try the food they are learning about, and will have a positive connection with it that will last for years to come.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that advertisers spend more than $12 billion per year advertising to the youth market, and that children are exposed to around 40,000 commercials per year. A good portion of those commercials are for unhealthy foods, such as sugar cereals, treats, and fast food. The CDC recommends that childcare centers make an effort to provide children with hands-on experience and learning opportunities regarding fruits and vegetables. Some of the benefits of using the Dr. Yum’s Preschool Food Adventure program include:
• The fun characters that will help to get children’s attention and keep them interested in the curriculum.
• The life skills they will be gaining by learning how to prepare a snack with the food. Additionally, the lessons have been designed to include using such skills as language, fine motor, and numbers.
• Drawing from Montessori-style teaching methods, students are exposed to the information through a practical life lesson they can re-create at home.
For more information: check out their website at –
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)