dr. yum's preschool food adventure
An interactive, multi-sensory, 2-year nutrition curriculum with strong family involvement and research to prove it helps kids to enjoy more fruits and vegetables!
picky eater prevention and intervention
Did you know learning how to eat a wide variety of new foods is a DEVELOPMENTAL process, just like talking, reading, and riding a bike? Not many do. At the same, time “kid food” marketing makes it even harder to help young children overcome picky eating. The Dr. Yum Project team is here to help.
created by a team of experts
This monthly cooking curriculum was created by a pediatrician, a pediatric feeding specialist, a registered dietitian, and an early education specialist to improve feeding behaviors in children within Early Childcare and Education centers since 2013.
data proves behavior change after 9 lessons
Dr. Nancy Zucker, director of the Center for Eating Disorders at Duke University showed that after nine monthly lesson there was a significant improvement in attitudes and feeding behaviors in all 9 key areas studied research poster »
easy implementation with flexibility and adaptability
Our flexible curriculum allows teachers to incorporate lessons within their program as a whole group or center-based experience, building a culture of wellness at school.
ongoing instructor training and support
Dr. Yum’s Teacher Success team is available to support you and ensure your school’s Adventure is meeting its goals. On-demand training for all instructors is included, and our team will check in regularly to answer questions and strategize solutions at no additional cost.
expert guidance for parents & carry-over into the home
To support student families, they will receive a Parent Manual, monthly Preschool e-letters, Feedback Sheets and recipes from each lesson, as well as access to the vast free resources available on our website.
inclusive of all learners
We understand kids with special needs may have additional challenges when learning to eat new foods. The Adventure is designed to help children with a range of abilities, including those with special needs to make friends with food using a fun, sensory-based approach.
alignment with educational standards & includes suggested extension activities
Reinforces cognitive and developmental skills like language, math, fine motor skills, and more, all while making friends with healthy foods. Each lesson provides ideas for teachers to use in a variety of classroom areas.
kids have fun learning about the power of food
Helps children to build a base of healthy eating habits and shows them how the superpowers in fruits and vegetables help strengthen their bodies and minds.

prices, choices, & what's included

Standard Kit
Deluxe Kit
Professional Package
Our Standard Kit includes everything you need to...

see details below
Our Deluxe Kit includes everything in the Standard Kit, plus even more... and...

see details below
Our Professional Package is specially designed for SLPs and OTs, and... see more »
US $524 inc. shipping within continental US
US $1,349 inc. shipping within continental US
Please see this page for the details and various scenarios for professionals.
Use the chart below to select Standard, Deluxe, or Professional package for your school or practice.
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Teacher manual, curriculum books containing 24 monthly lessons with family-tested recipes easily be prepared without the need for a kitchen, circle time experience and your choice of extension activities for each lesson, parent manual (English and Spanish) and parent feedback sheets for each lesson (English and Spanish)
On demand teacher training in the beginning of each school year with teacher training certificates for all who successfully complete the program
Feedback and support throughout the year from the Dr. Yum Project Team
Link to training videos for new teachers
Class Party Toolbox: includes ideas for healthy class parties with recipes
Monthly e-letters for teachers and parents
“Dancing in the Kitchen” music download
EZPZ Happy Mat to present foods at Circle Time
6 Kuhn Rikon kid-safe “dog knives” and 6 colorful cutting mats
Yum Scores for kids to use to talk about how food tastes, plus a window cling to display at your school and/or office, plus a graphic for your website to announce to families you are specially trained and on the Adventure!
“Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater,” an award-winning book, and a top seller in Children’s Health written by Dr. Nimali Fernando and Melanie Potock, “Adventures in Veggieland” by Melanie Potock with more recipes and tips for picky eaters,“Broc and Cara’s Picnic Party”, a delightful kids’ book celebrating veggies and “Broc and Cara’s Gut Book” which explains the microbiome in easy-to-understand language for kids
Convenient tote bag to store and carry your supplies (new to Standard & Professional)
Shipping included (within the continental U.S.)
Your purchase contributes to the work of our nonprofit which is supported by grants and donations
Second and subsequent years no additional cost In second and subsequent years, we hope your organization will purchase additional kits that may be needed, take advantage of our team and resources, and we request that you update your contact information for instructors for each year the materials are used. But as of Fall 2022, there is no additional cost for re-using Preschool Food Adventure materials on subsequent years.
12 additional Kuhn Rikon kid-safe “dog knives” (for a total of 18)
12 additional colorful cutting mats (for a total of 18)
2 additional copies (for a total of 3, 1 classroom copy and 2 for loaning to parents) of “Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater,” “Where’s the Macaroni?” teaches kids the beauty of trying new and exciting foods, and "You are Not an Otter The Story of How Kids Become Adventurous Eaters!" takes children on a food adventure, exploring all the ways that animals eat
18 colorful Dr. Yum Project children aprons
2 Dr. Yum Project adult aprons for teachers
24 growing food posters for bulletin board display, 24 Happy Mat maps, laminated and attached on a ring for easy lesson preparation, 10 laminated Super Power signs for circle time lesson, and 3 laminated station signs for lesson time. Note: all items are included for download for the Standard Kit
4-hour webinar training: Partnering with Parents in the Kitchen: Strategies for the Picky Eater | presented by the co-creator of the Preschool Food Adventure, Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP
ASHA CEUs and AOTA CEUs
Live Training Option (available soon) Call for minimum # attendees, travel expenses, etc.
Add-On: Dr. Yum Kid Aprons, 6-pack
Add-On: Dr. Yum Teacher Aprons, 2-pack
Add-On: Additional Child-safe Dog Knives and Cutting Sheets, 6-pack
Add-On: Book Bundle
Add-On: Printed Classroom Visuals Pack

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.

Testimonials

One year one of our students was a very picky eater and was suffering from constipation. After using the Dr. Yum Preschool Food Adventure, he found healthy snacks that he loved and his mom started making them at home, too. His digestive issues quickly improved and he was even able to stop medication. We learned from Dr. Fernando that constipation can lead to urinary issues, and our teachers noticed that as this student began eating better and his constipation improved he stopped needing a pull-up at naptime. This curriculum really helped him in so many ways! Debbie, Daycare Director
It’s been amazing to finally have a snack program that works in the special needs population. It encompasses all of our philosophies and techniques when working with children who have Feeding difficulties And at the same time is easily modified to meet the needs of any child. When your students request, ‘more’ of their Kale Smoothie, that is something to be celebrated! Jessica Fioretti, MA, CCC-SLP
Proper nutrition has always been a focus of our Head Start program. Dr. Yum offers our students the opportunity to explore and taste fresh produce. It is designed to engage all of the senses while allowing the child to participate at their comfort level. Our students have treasured the opportunity to take part in creating a recipe they can enjoy from start to finish even the cutting! I genuinely believe that if our students are exposed to fresh food early in life at Head Start through this program, it can have a ripple effect that can benefit them and their families well into their future. Laura Dove, Curriculum Manager, Fredericksburg Regional Head Start
As Cafeteria Manager at Holy Cross Academy I have noticed a difference in the eating habits of our students, in particular the new Kindergarten students who have gone through the Dr. Yum program at our preschool. Their knowledge of food and willingness at such a young age to try new things has truly been an eye opener for all of us. Keep up the good work! Mary Beall, Cafeteria Manager, Holy Cross Academy
Maggie was always more willing to try new foods because her friends were doing it as well and because she helped to prepare it. Our family realized the true magic of the Dr. Yum Project [when] Maggie was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This was an overwhelming change for us and it was made infinitely easier because of our experience with the Dr. Yum Project. Maggie’s favorite recipes (such as Pineapple Power Salad and ABC Dip) were naturally gluten free. Thanks to the monthly lessons, she understood (at four years old!) that different foods contain different nutrients needed for a healthy body. When we explained that she was deficient in certain nutrients, she was more willing to try new foods. She knows that her new diet means that she needs to be more willing to try new things and the Dr. Yum Project has helped reinforce this. —Emily Kaye, Preschooler mom