Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Childhood Education, 95:1 (January/February 2019), pp 57-63,

doi 10.1080/00094056.2019.1565811


Published by Routledge/Taylor&Francis Group. Used by permission.


The Reggio Emilia approach is an international example of high-quality early care and education programs and this article offers innovative, practical strategies in which Reggio Emilia-inspired educators can link this approach while implementing the research-based EAT Family Style Dining program to foster a positive mealtime environment and promote better health for children.

The EAT Family Style Dining program presents childcare providers with the knowledge and skills needed for promoting children’s development of healthy eating behaviors while engaging families and communities. Children and adults eat together during mealtime and children serve themselves and select their own portions. This practice is recommended by the National Academy of Medicine, USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Head Start. The EAT Family Style Program, developed by an interdisciplinary team of nutrition and early childhood researchers, is composed of seven different lessons that address specific strategies for promoting family style dining.