Healthy Futures Starting in the Kitchen teaches childcare cooks basic nutrition and how to prepare healthy, delicious foods that appeal to young children. The program, funded by Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, was developed at the Mecklenburg County Health Department in partnership with Johnson & Wales University Charlotte (JWUC) as a way to address childhood obesity.
Since the first pilot program in Summer 2008, 83 cooks from 73 centers have completed Healthy Futures Starting in the Kitchen. Future plans include basic nutrition, menu planning and cost analysis for administrators and continuing education classes for graduates.
Childcare cooks for 3, 4, and 5 star centers and centers in a residence in Mecklenburg County can apply for the program.
About the Class
Childcare cooks attend the 20-hour hands on program which has been held in culinary school kitchens including: JWUC, Community Culinary School of Charlotte and CPCC Corporate and Continuing Education Program. In weekly labs childcare cooks prepare, then sample the foods they create.
Upon completion of the program graduates receive:
- 20 in-service credits
- a notebook of recipes and nutrition information
- a calendar featuring them in HFSK classes
You may apply for the program online.
We believe on-going interaction is key to making changes that last.
- Each month offers a Yes We Can! best practice challenge (coordinated by Nutrition and Physical Activity Self Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC)).
- Graduates also receive follow-up calls every two months.
- A yearly visit from the program coordinators to encourage them make the small and nutritious changes that will improve the food they serve young children.
Healthy Futures Starting in the Kitchen is funded by Smart Start of Mecklenburg County.