FOOD & WELLNESS

About Food & Wellness

CentroNía’s Food and Wellness department was created in 2007 with the mission of cooking nutritious meals, educating adults and children to adopt healthy lifestyles, advocating for better food policies, and expanding this holistic model across communities. At CentroNía, we believe a healthy and active lifestyle is essential to achieving academic and social success by positively impacting the physical and intellectual development of children and adults. To see our monthly menus please visit the parent portal section.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy

Adults, especially teachers and parents, play an essential role in helping young children develop lifelong habits that promote health and wellness. With that in mind, CentroNía created the Eat Healthy, Live Healthy Campaign, a holistic nutrition education program that seeks to engage and educate children, parents, teachers and directors of Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers about the importance of developing healthy behaviors early in life.

Why start young?

  • Children develop life-long food preferences before the age of three.
  • Half of obese children in the United States are already overweight by their second birthday.
  • Children’s relationship to food impacts their development in various areas: physical, cognitive, emotional and social.
  • Adult behavior, through feeding practices, impacts the way children react to internal cues of hunger and satiation, affecting their innate ability to self-regulate.
  • Early childhood education centers provide the perfect platform to increase the availability and accessibility of a variety of foods helping young children explore new tastes and textures.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy includes:

Food Production & Catering

Menus are created by our team using local produce (when available), a variety of whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins. Students are given fresh fruits and vegetables every day and juices are not served to limit sugar consumption. Following USDA regulations, we also offer 1% milk and skim milk for children two years old and older and whole milk to children under two. Our menus are rich in fiber and low in fat, sugar and sodium.

Nutrition Education

Numerous studies show that there is an important increase in accepting fruits & vegetables with the implementation of nutrition curricula in classrooms. In early childhood education classrooms, the research-based and interactive “I Want to Be Healthy” Curriculum is used. The curriculum provides age-appropriate, engaging lessons and activities for teachers to use when teaching food and wellness principles in the classroom. For partnerships with local elementary schools, our team incorporates nutrition education into science classes and hosts occasional presentations during lunch time to engage students around the meals they are eating.

Community Engagement

We also believe it’s important to extend nutrition education into the home, so our team conducts cooking workshops for parents with nutrition components included, such as: the importance of water, food choices in the market, farming, and physical activity. Healthy cooking workshops are held every 2 weeks at CentroNía, teaching participants how to use local produce to create delicious and healthy recipes. Participants also receive a free voucher of $25 value that can be used at the Columbia Heights Farmer’s Market.

Advocacy

Whether it’s at a child care center, as an entire community, or as a nation, creating a culture of healthy living is essential to our success. We work with early childhood education centers to create wellness policies to encourage all levels to participate in healthy habits. Our team also engages the community to advocate improved access to healthy foods and nutrition education for early childhood programs both when local and national policies are introduced and/or challenged.

Accomplishments

  • First Lady Michelle Obama launched her campaign “Let’s Move!” Child Care at CentroNía (2011)
  • USDA Healthier US School Challenge Gold Award with Distinction (2011)
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation Silver Award (2013)
  • Let’s Move Active School National Recognition Award (2014)

CentroNía Recipe Box

Interested in enrollment?

The best way to learn about CentroNía and whether our services are right for you and your family is by making an appointment with our Admissions Office and speaking with a representative.