Food Literacy in Preschool

Launched in Fall 2011

By focusing on this younger age group, we aim to help children understand the importance of nutritious choices and prepare them for a lifetime of healthy choices.

Our Food Literacy in Preschool (FLIP) Program serves as the first step of our Feed the Future programs. This program is not available to the public; the Foodbank hosts it at pre-school locations selected based on need.

FLIP introduces fruits and vegetables to young children from low-income working families.

  • Fun, interactive lesson plans promote healthy eating and physical activity.
  • FLIP serves a dual purpose: delivering short-term food assistance and providing nutrition education.

Each month, children ages 3 to 5 participate in a lesson centered all around one selected in-season produce item. Lessons are 45 to 60 minutes and include:

  • a form of food-based literature
  • a food-focused physical activity
  • a tasting of the chosen produce item

The children are given a moderate amount of the produce item to bring home to their families, with a healthful recipe. Emphasizing nutrient-dense foods puts the focus on quality rather than quantity; thus addressing the issue that many clients are overfed yet undernourished.

Who is Served?150204-FA-CA-025

  • Children ages 3-5 years old from low-income, working families
  • Preschools and childcare centers in underserved areas throughout the county

Role in Continuum of Programs

Serving as the first step of the Feed the Future programs

Program Impact

It is a surprising fact that there is a high rate of overweight/obesity among lower-income preschool and kindergarten children in our county, and in our nation.

  • Screening of lower-income preschool and kindergarten children by the County 150204-FA-CA-016Education Office Health Linkages Program found a combined overweight/obesity rate of 43% in 2010-11.
  • Over a third (33.5%) of 2-5 year olds served by the County’s Women Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition program in 2010 were overweight or obese. If you are looking to apply for WIC here are the wic office locations.
  • The national Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System reported that 45.5% of local lower-income youth aged 5-20 were overweight or obese in 2009. (source: Health Weight Promotion & Obesity Prevention Plan, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department 2011).

These statistics only reinforce the need for and expansion of programs like FLIP. FLIP is producing the desired impacts necessary for the continued health of our young children including:

  • improved family access to a variety of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables,
  • early childhood educator training regarding the importance of positive role modeling and the importance of good nutrition in childhood development, and
    exposure to fruit and vegetables during early childhood when food behaviors are often formed.

Program Sites (2)

FLIP currently operates at the following locations:

Storyteller Preschool on State
Storyteller Preschool on De La Vina

Program Partners

Preschool and early childcare centers

ico3Healthy Recipes from FLIP

Butter Lettuce Nectarine Salad

Ingredients 1/3 cup walnuts 5 cups butter lettuce or any type of lettuce 2 ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced 2 tbls bottled raspberry vinaigrette dressing Directions Add walnuts to a skillet placed over medium, high heat. Toast nuts until they start to deeply brown in spots and smell fragrant. Set aside. Wash and dry lettuce […]

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