Child care centers can make a big difference in creating healthy child care environments and help address childhood obesity and chronic disease. Cooks in early learning settings play a critical role in creating quality childcare environments, teaching healthy eating habits and helping children get off to a healthy start.
To support healthy food access in child cares, the health district helped develop the Let’s Cook Whole Foods for Healthy Kids project, which provides resources for child care facility cooks to prepare kid-friendly, whole foods efficiently while keeping costs down. This program focuses on whole grains, legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as using spices and presentation to enhance flavor and taste expectations while preserving the nutrition in whole foods. Additional resources include cost-saving strategies and organization skills to support these whole food practices.
Let’s Cook Whole Foods was developed with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of a six-county program in eastern Washington called Start Healthy. Start Now. The curriculum and resources were created by Spokane Regional Health District and informed by Child and Adult Food Care Program (USDA) and Chef Sunwold (Spokane Community Colleges).