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Child Care Food Service Professionals Train to Prepare Nutritious and Delicious Meals

The Mecklenburg County Health Department (MCHD) collaborated with Johnson & Wales University Charlotte (JWUC) to offer an innovative program to address the growing problem of childhood obesity. In the summer of 2008, twenty-nine child care food service professionals received 20 hours of training in the preparation of nutritious and delicious meals.

The course of studies was developed by professionals from MCHD and JWUC. Participants were given an overview on nutrition and an orientation to the labs/kitchens. Culinary training focused on topics such as:

Food service professional
  • Hot Lunches: Whole Grains and Vegetables
  • Sandwiches, Soups, Salads and Snacks
  • Alternative Proteins and Desserts

The course ended with participants preparing a Grand Buffet for their facility administrators, JWUC faculty and representatives from nutrition services programs in North Carolina.

The program was partially funded by a grant from the Carolinas Healthcare Foundation and Sysco Food Services of Charlotte donated a portion of the food that the cooks prepared. Coordinated by Priscilla Laula, M.Ed., the program was enthusiastically received by the participants and the day care managers. Quotes from the evaluations included "Now I know how important my job it in helping to raise healthy children. I can do something to help them avoid being overweight and unhealthy" and "I am more conscientious about using products with a lot of fat and am choosing more whole grains when preparing food."

 

The success of the pilot project has attracted interest from others interested in fighting pediatric obesity. Ongoing evaluation of the long-term impact of the training will be conducted during the coming year, and the Health Department is exploring resources to replicate the program in other communities in the Carolinas.

Event Photos:

Chef demonstrates chopping technique
Chef demonstrates chopping technique
Men in aprons!
Men in aprons!
Fruit Smoothies
Fruit Smoothies


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