Address: 4700 MacCorkle Avenue SE Suite 1108 Charleston, WV 25304 View Map
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About Us

The Family Nutrition Program is comprised of numerous nutrition, food and physical activity projects designed to help limited resource families, youth, and adults improve their health. FNP targets risk factors associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases.

FNP encourages the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors by:

  •     Teaching nutrition education using the USDA’s MyPlate and Dietary Guidelines
  •     Providing food demonstrations
  •     Improving access and availability to local community resources
  •     Helping participants to stretch their food dollars, plan menus, and read food labels
  •     Encouraging participants to devote more time to being physically active

WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program FAQ

I know a lot of parents out there are worried that their kids aren’t eating enough, especially young kids. What advice do you have for those parents who may have those concerns?
Between the ages of 1-3 toddler are developing self-feeding skills, becoming more independent, and learning to communicate their preferences. In addition, the amount of food they consume fluctuates primarily in response to changes in their rates of growth. At the same time we also know that a child’s eating patterns are relatively well-established by about age five so the early years are an especially important time to teach children healthy eating behaviors so that they are more likely to maintain a healthy way of eating throughout their lifetime. One of the key messages that we try to impart to parents is “The Parent Provides, the child decides”. That means is that children do not have the knowledge or skills to decide what is healthy for them so it is our job as parents to provide them with a wide variety of healthy foods for their meals and snacks and then it becomes the child’s decision what to eat and how much.

So that seems easy enough, you provide foods and let the child decide what to eat but how do you get kids to try new things?
Toddlers will often accept a new food only after is has been offered many times. It’s not unusual for parents to have to offer something 15 or 20 times before a child will try it and eat it.
• Offer the new food when you know that the child is hungry.
• Offer familiar foods that a child likes when offering a new food.
• Give the child just a small amount of the new food so that it’s not overwhelming
• Try the new food yourself to be a positive role model.
• Encourage other family members not to make negative comments about the food.
• Ask the child to help with the meal. Maybe they can rinse a fruit or vegetable, maybe they can put the new food on a plate and set the plate on the table. Involve the child in grocery shopping or making the shopping list. Ask them to choose a new fruit/vegetable at the store and prepare it together. If they are involved in the process they are more likely to eat what is served. • Preparing special meals just for that child given them control over what is being served. Remember you are the one in control: you are responsible for “what” and they are responsible for “how much”.
• Don’t use food as a reward or a punishment for any behavior. A cookie should not be a reward for trying green beans.

So if the parent provides, child decides, does that mean you let them eat as much as they want or are there specific portion sizes for young children?
We’d like to show you what a healthy, well-balanced meal looks like for toddlers of a variety of ages.
Breakfast for 18-month old
• ½ scrambled egg
• 1/2 piece whole wheat toast
• ¼ cup strawberries
• ½ cup milk

Lunch for a 3 year old.
• Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce (1/4 cup noodles with 2-3 Tbsp. sauce)
• ½ cup sliced cucumbers/peppers strips
• 1 ½ ounces sliced chicken breast
• ½ cup yogurt with blueberries

I know the WV Family Nutrition Program has been here before talking about the Rethink Your Drink campaign? Does this also apply to young children?
Well, while fruit juice provides some nutrition it’s not OK to provide it in unlimited quantities to children for a variety of reasons:
a. Fruit juice lacks fiber and other nutrients that only the whole fruit can provide. The recommendation is no more than 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice per day.
b. If a child fills up on fruit juice, they may not eat well-balanced meals which can put them at risk for being deficient in other nutrients essential for growth.
whole milk is recommended for children under the age of two. Milk and water should be the beverages of choice for most children. No sugar sweetened beverages.

I know the WV Family Nutrition Program has been here before talking about the Rethink Your Drink campaign? Does this also apply to young children?
Well, while fruit juice provides some nutrition it’s not OK to provide it in unlimited quantities to children for a variety of reasons:
a. Fruit juice lacks fiber and other nutrients that only the whole fruit can provide. The recommendation is no more than 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice per day.
b. If a child fills up on fruit juice, they may not eat well-balanced meals which can put them at risk for being deficient in other nutrients essential for growth.
whole milk is recommended for children under the age of two. Milk and water should be the beverages of choice for most children. No sugar sweetened beverages.

How can the WVU Family Nutrition Program help parents of young children?
We have some programs that are designed specifically for parents. One is the NEAT curriculum which stands for Nutrition Education Aimed at Toddlers. This is a series of 4 sessions that parents can attend with their toddlers where we do some activities, some recipe preparation and tasting and some problem-solving around some of the issues we talked about today. We also offer an 8 session series called Eating Smart Being Active which is designed to help families make some small changes to love a healthier lifestyle and again we have a lot of fun in those sessions where we cook together, taste new things and learn from one another. We also offer grocery store tours where we are able to help families shop healthfully on a budget and all of our programs come with give-a-ways and prizes and are offered at no cost to the participant. If you sounds like this might be something you’re interested in just call us or your county extension office.

Target Audience

FNP targets limited resource adults living at or below 185% of the federal poverty level and youth at schools, groups or summer camps where more than 50% of participants are eligible for the free/reduced lunch program.

Program Delivery

FNP targets limited rThe Family Nutrition Program is loaced in over 40 counties with:
 

  •     Approximately 50 Nutrition Outreach Instructors and Health Educators
  •     50 County Extension Agents
  •     More than 2,000 volunteers


Programs range from the direct delivery of nutrition information to social marketing campaigns.

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