CLINTON TWP., NJ – Tomorrow will mark the Hunterdon County YMCA’s inaugural Start Healthy Stay Healthy (SHSH) First Thousand Days Nutrition workshop, which will be held at the Y’s Round Valley branch here. The workshop is offered free of charge and is open to the community.

The SHSH workshops, which are funded by Nestle-Gerber, are established to improve the diets of young children through three years of age, or the first 1,000 days of life. The Early Childhood Education Department at the Hunterdon YMCA was identified by YMCA State Alliance as a valuable provider to launch these workshops.

Workshops will be presented by Clinical Nutritionist Nadia Quraishi, and are offered at a variety of times throughout the summer to make completion convenient for families.

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 The 2008 Nestle Feeding Infant and Toddlers Study showed that children’s eating patterns are set by the time they are 24 months old. By 48 months, their dietary patterns are similar to those they will have as adults, as evidenced by the Nutritional Health and Examination Study (NHANES). This study indicated that once dietary patterns are set in early life, they seem to be set for life.

Workshops are divided into six modules, beginning with infant breastfeeding, the importance of breastmilk and fullness cues. Modules progress through finger-foods and feeding the picky toddler.

While Quraishi has important information to share with families, the workshops are also discussion-based and include food demos (for adults and children), recipes and take-home goodies. Upon completion of all six modules (approximately five hours), all families will receive a certificate and free Magic Bullet, Baby Care System, as well as a swag bag of helpful samples and giveaways.

The workshops are offered in two parts and include free childcare and a delicious, healthy meal for parent and child. Saturday classes provide the entire workshop in one day and are recommended.

Classes are offered July 14 or August 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday evening classes are offered July 20 (Part 1) and August 24 (Part 2), from 6 to 8:30 p.m. All workshops are held at the Round Valley Branch of the Hunterdon YMCA. The workshops will be in the Administrative House and childcare is provided at the Child Learning Center.

 The SHSH workshops are open to parents of children age three or younger, and expecting parents are especially welcome and encouraged. Expecting parents and parents/caregivers of very young children often gain the most from the workshops. There is no cost to attend and Y membership is not required. Completion of the workshops require that all participants attend all six modules.

The Hunterdon County YCMA and NJ Alliance of YMCAs are happy to offer this opportunity free of charge to all. Advance registration is required. To register for the workshop or for more information, contact Michael Reisman, Director of Early Childhood Education at mreisman@hcymca.org or 908-483-4623.