prices, choices, & what's included
Bring Dr. Yum to Your Community
Dr. Yum’s Preschool Food Adventure works with a wide range of schools and partner organizations to help children, teachers, and families learn to make friends with new fruits and veggies , changing attitudes and behaviors around new foods!. We’ve had great results with all types of early childcare settings, school districts, Head Start organizations, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy offices, hospitals, Food Banks, and more.
To become one of our partners and bring Dr. Yum’s Preschool Food Adventure to your community, just follow the four steps below. Our preschool team is ready to assist you, so please don't hesitate to get in touch!Join an info Session » or Send us an email »
Step 1 - choose your curriculum kit(s)
(for more details on what’s included, see above)
Standard Kit is designed for classes that use a “centers-based” learning approach. After circle time, kids can move from a recipe prep station to other suggested extension activity stations and all enjoy the completed recipe together. more information & purchase »
Deluxe kit is for teachers who want to have the recipe prepared as a whole group activity. After circle time, every student has their own cutting sheet, dog knife, and apron and can prepare the recipe at the same time. The class enjoys the completed recipe together. more information & purchase »
Professional Package is the Standard Kit PLUS additional training for feeding specialists, including Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and others. more information »
Add Ons customize your kit by adding a kids apron 6-pack view », teacher apron 2-pack view », 6 pack cutting sheets and dog knives view », additional book bundle view » and printed classroom visuals view »
We encourage you to connect early on with Jessica@Doctoryum.org who can review the core program implementation components and answer any initial questions you may have.
The curriculum is designed to be flexible enough to work in any setting. In some schools, each classroom has its own kit, and everyone does the Adventure on the same day. In others, a designated Dr. Yum teacher travels from class to class with one kit and leads the lesson, with the classroom teacher’s support. Some schools share one kit between two classrooms. We can help you decide what is best for you!
We are here to collaborate with you throughout the planning process to help ensure you are set up for success.
Step 2 - You’re joining a community of food adventurers.
Congratulations! You are embarking on a transformative adventure that truly makes a difference in the lives of your students and their families. An early introduction to the exploration of fruits and vegetables, using all of the senses, creates positive food experiences that impact the attitudes and behaviors for your young adventurers!
If you are a feeding specialist (SLP or OT) fill out this contact form. All others, please fill out this contact form.
Step 3 - Get your whole team ready for the adventure
Dr. Yum's Preschool Food Adventure undertakes a unique approach to introducing fruits and vegetables in a joyful and mindful way. Using a multi-sensory approach, we encourage children to participate at their own comfort level.
Our on-demand video training modules teach the teachers, aides and others participating in the lessons how to speak to children about healthy foods using new language and techniques. It is essential to the success of this program!
All who are involved in presenting the curriculum will need to take the training, pass the quiz and sign a digital Participation Agreement before they participate in instruction. Each will receive a three-hour training certificate.
NOTE: Once at least one person in the school passes the quiz and signs the digital Participation Agreement, the curriculum kit(s) will be on their way.
Step 4 - Unlimited and ongoing support
Throughout the life of your program, Dr. Yum’s Preschool Food Adventure team will be available to ensure your program is meeting its goals. Every trained team member will have their own YAMS (Yum Account Management System) account where they will have access to resources to support enjoyable and productive lessons each month.
Preschoolers become change agents in their families by bringing a new love of healthy food home. Parents are supported in this journey via a parent training manual, monthly lesson feedback forms, recipes (all in English & Spanish), monthly preschool newsletter, and access to all the free resources on our website.
Ask us about our Classroom Coach program. We will train a designated team member on how to observe classroom teachers and provide feedback for improved implementation of the curriculum.
Trudie Knapp, our Teacher Success Specialist, is available at no additional cost to answer questions and strategize solutions. Email her at Trudie@doctoryum.org
Questions? Email Jessica@doctoryum.org
frequently asked questions
Why Education on Healthy Eating is Important
Childhood Obesity is an epidemic affecting children of all ages. But poor nutrition doesn’t only appear as excess body weight. A poor diet can contribute to problems like chronic constipation, gastrointestinal reflux, urinary tract infections, bedwetting, difficulty paying attention, anxiety and fatigue.
Feeding disorders are also increasingly more prevalent in young children. Feeding disorders can range from picky eating to more severe issues requiring specialized therapy. Often parents are not sure how to overcome picky eating in toddlers and preschoolers. Children can easily fall into eating the usual “kid-friendly foods” which are low in nutrients, but high in fat, salt, and sugar.
But what if there is a better way? What if we can introduce preschoolers to the delicious flavors and health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and get them excited about preparing foods themselves in the classroom? What if that excited preschooler takes their new knowledge and skills home, encouraging his or her family to try new foods and cook together?
How It Works
Dr. Yum’s Preschool Food Adventure is an evidence based interactive curriculum designed to introduce preschoolers to the joy of eating fruits and vegetables. This curriculum was written by Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH, (“Dr. Yum”) a pediatrician and founder of the nonprofit The Dr. Yum Project, and Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP (“Coach Mel”), a certified speech language pathologist specialized in pediatric feeding, and owner of My Munch Bug. Dr. Yum and Coach Mel are also co-authors of the award-winning book, Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook.
This 6th edition of our proven interactive curriculum features 24 lessons (which can be used over two years) presented by preschool teachers once a month. Using the fun characters, Dr. Yum, Coach Mel and Munch Bug, each lesson introduces a seasonal fruit or vegetable, explains their nutritional benefits to preschoolers, and guides them through a mindful appreciation of the new food using all of the senses. Many extension activities, which meet NAEYC standards, can be used to deepen the experience and familiarity with the new food through art, literacy, movement, music, science and community connections. Lastly, students work together with a few basic kitchen tools to prepare a simple snack using the featured fruit or vegetable. Preschoolers practice motor skills like pouring and cutting while continuing to practice cognitive skills like mathematics and language. Teachers are provided materials with helpful tips and ideas on how to use encouraging language and engage preschoolers in enjoying healthy foods. Coach Mel also includes valuable information on overcoming some of the challenges presented by selective eaters, with fun ideas that can be applied to all types of preschoolers. Parents are also given a variety of materials and information about the program so they can continue the joyful approach to healthy eating in the home.
Why it works
This one-of-a-kind curriculum works because it was written by a pediatrician and a pediatric feeding therapist who understand how preschoolers become picky eaters and how to prevent picky eating with a joyful approach. Rounding out the creative team are seasoned preschool teachers and registered dietitian, making sure kids learn nutrition in the most fun and engaging ways. Parent involvement is a key to success so a parent handbook, monthly feedback sheets with recipes and a monthly newsletter give parents the language and approach to continue the education at home. The curriculum is designed for kids of all abilities, and in particular, has shown impressive results in classrooms which include children with special needs.
Research & Impact
Dr. Nancy Zucker, director of the Center for Eating Disorders at Duke University, teamed up with the Dr. Yum Project to study the effect of this program on attitudes and behaviors around healthy eating at home and at school. Parents and teachers were surveyed about individual students’ eating behaviors before and after the curriculum. The parents showed an increase in understanding the importance of cooking with children, as well as a significantly higher appreciation of introducing plain water as a preferred drink. But that’s just the results of the parent surveys.
In the United States, 64 percent of preschoolers are cared for weekly by someone other than their parents or primary caregivers, so it was important to determine if teachers noticed changes in their students’ eating behaviors as a result of the curriculum. Our teachers evaluated roughly 400 students and were asked the following nine questions, in pre and post surveys, about the feeding behaviors of each child:
- My student loves food.
- My student is interested in food.
- My student refuses to eat food at first.
- My student enjoys tasting new foods.
- My student enjoys a wide variety of foods.
- My student looks forward to mealtimes.
- My student enjoys eating.
- My student enjoys tasting new foods that he/she hasn’t eaten before.
- My student decides that she/he doesn’t like a food, even without tasting it.
Results showed that after nine Dr. Yum Preschool Food Adventure lessons, students showed significant improvement in ALL nine areas. These findings were presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Meeting in Orlando and at the American Speech Language Hearing National Convention in Boston.
In 2021-22 we studied 614 children in North Alabama to see if they had similar changes in feeding behaviors and if there were any changes in BMI between the beginning of the school year and after one academic year which included teacher training and monthly Dr. Yum Preschool Food Adventures.We stratified the children into healthy weight, high weight and low weight.
BMI change in these three groups after an average of 7 lessons was as follows:
- Compared to children with a healthy weight (n= 437), those with high weight (BMI percentile above the 85th; n=130) lost 16.9 percentile points over the year (p < .001)
- Conversely, children with low weight (below the 5th percentile; n=47) gained 24.7 percentile points over the course of the school year (p < .001).
Among the 130 with high weight at baseline, 44 had healthy weight at the end of the year (33.8%)
Among the 47 with low weight at baseline, 27 had healthy weight at the end of the year (57.4%)
These results highlight the possibility that a school-based cooking intervention could be an effective prevention strategy for the development of both high and low-weight. Exposure to novel fruits and vegetables may promote positive attitudes toward food and improvement in weight status. However, additional data are required to more fully understand the mechanisms that cause beneficial weight changes in preschool-age children. We are now planning a study including a control group to look at BMI change and fruit and vegetable intake beginning in 2024.