The Child Development Center at St. Charles Community College has adopted new guidelines for meals and snacks to promote healthier eating habits and improve the nutrition of children at the facility.
The Missouri Eat Smart Guidelines, developed by the state health department, are designed to boost the nutrition of children ages 2-12 and help them maintain a healthy weight. The guidelines include recommendations for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
“We are pleased that St. Charles Community College Child Development Center is working to improve the health of the children it serves,” said Ann McCormack, chief of the health department’s Bureau of Community Food and Nutrition Assistance. “Child care facilities play an important role in providing young people with the nutrition they need for good health now and helping them learn life-long healthy habits.”
The Eat Smart program is voluntary and open to child care facilities throughout Missouri that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Eat Smart recommendations include more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, fewer processed foods, lower-fat milk and fewer sweet snacks and breakfast foods.
The program is offered at three levels: minimum, which are minimum CACFP and state licensing requirements, intermediate and advanced. Each level requires increasingly higher nutrition standards, and only centers that meet the intermediate or advanced levels are recognized.
St. Charles Community College Child Development Center has achieved the advanced level.
In addition to menu recommendations, the Eat Smart Guidelines address factors that impact the mealtime environment at child care centers. Those recommendations include lessons about healthy eating habits, adult caregivers modeling healthy behaviors, family style meals, no television during mealtime and healthier classroom parties.
To qualify for the Eat Smart designation, child care centers must apply to participate in the CACFP and submit their menus, nutrition-related policies, food labels and other supporting documents to the state health department.
Child care facilities achieving Eat Smart status receive a certificate, a banner and menu templates to post in the facility. They also receive a letter to provide information to parents about the new nutrition guidelines and can use the Eat Smart logo to promote the changes at the facility.
More information about the Eat Smart Guidelines can be found at: http://health.mo.gov/eatsmartguidelines. More information on SCC’s Child Development Center can be found at: http://www.stchas.edu/cdc/.
St. Charles Community College is a public, comprehensive two-year community college with associate degrees and certificate programs in the arts, business, sciences and career-technical fields. SCC provides workforce training and community-based personal and professional development as well as cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities. For more information, visit www.stchas.edu.
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