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Nutrition Basics

On-Demand • Online • 4 PD Hours

Enhance and expand your nutrition-based programming both in the classroom and for families at home.


Nutrition is an essential component of child development and family life. A balanced diet ensures children have the energy and nutrients they need to function, both physically and mentally, and thrive as they learn and grow. In this course, you will explore the basics of nutrition education in early childhood. You will learn how to engage children, families, and classrooms with nutrition-based activities that make eating healthy foods a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.

This course guides learners through identifying nutrition needs, challenges, and solutions to developing nourishing meal and snack plans that align with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) guidelines.

Course Level: Beginner

Requirements/Prerequisites: None

Target Audience: Instruction and Effective Practice, Leadership and Management, Parents and Families, Program Operations, Support Services

Course Meeting Times: None

Completion Timeline/Duration: One month

Head Start Alignment: This course supports programs in meeting the following requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS):

  • 1302.44 Child nutrition requirements in which programs must “design and implement nutrition services that are culturally and developmentally appropriate, meet the nutritional needs of and accommodate the feeding requirements of each child, including children with special dietary needs and children with disabilities.” 
  • 1302.46 Family support services for health, nutrition, and mental health requirements in which programs must provide nutrition “education support services that are understandable to individuals, including individuals with low health literacy.”
Course Outline

Course Author/Facilitator

Rachel Hutchison

Rachel Hutchison

Rachel Hutchison is the Manager of Online Instructional Design at the National Head Start Association (NHSA). In this role she oversees the design and management of 100+ online courses for the Academy at NHSA. In 2021, Hutchison launched NHSA in the Classroom, an initiative that aims to increase access to world-class arts and educational resources through virtual programming. Rachel earned her bachelors in writing and communication at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and her masters in creative writing at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. Rachel grew up in Havre, Montana and enjoys puppetry, music, and hiking.

Available exclusively on


  • Online, Self-paced Content
  • 3 Hours of Course Material
  • Video Content
  • 1 Month of Access to Online Course
  • Digital Badge
  • Certificate of Completion
  • 24/7 Access to Transcript

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