FOOD & WELLNESS

About Food & Wellness

CentroNía’s Food and Wellness department mission is to cook nutritious meals, educate adults and children to adopt healthy lifestyles, advocate for better food policies, and expanded 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.

Monthly Menus: To see our monthly menus please visit the parent portal section

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 a holistic nutrition education program, Roots, that seeks to engage and educate, 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.

CentroNía Media Release: D.C. Free Summer Meals Program

The Food & Wellness Department includes:

Food Production & NíaCentral Catering

NíaCentral Catering prepares meals each day that are fresh, tasty and nourishing. Menus follow USDA regulations and Healthy Tots Act guidelines to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins from local products when possible. Menus are rich in fiber and low in fat, sugar and sodium.

Nutrition Education

CentroNía’s Food and Wellness Roots initiative provides teachers and parents the necessary tools to cultivate healthy habits during early childhood. Using the Roots workbook, CentroNia’s teachers implement health and wellness activities in the classroom and staff host family engagement events, cooking demos and nutrition education workshops regularly at all of CentroNía’s centers to educate families.

Community Engagement

Partnerships with local organizations offer staff and families access to local produce and wellness resources. CentroNia’s Food and Wellness staff provide workshops that cover a variety of topics, such as the importance of drinking water, food choices at the market, gardening, and physical activity. Participants receive a farmer’s market voucher for use at Community Foodworks Farmer’s Markets and Crossroads Farmer’s Markets.

Advocacy

Whether it is at a childcare center, as an entire community, or as a nation, creating a culture of healthy living is essential to the success of children and families. Through the Healthy Tots Wellness grant, CentroNía’s Food and Wellness team work with early childhood education centers to create wellness policies that encourage everyone to participate in healthy habits. CentroNía also advocates for improved access to healthy foods and nutrition education for early childhood programs 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)
  • USDA Certificate of Appreciation: Providing Free Summer Meals at the DC first Farmer’s Market site (2016)
  • USDA Certificate of Appreciation: Expand reach of USDA Summer Food Service Program meals by 400% (2017)
  • OSSE Healthy Tots Wellness Grantee: Start with the Stars Program (2018)
  • USDA Certification of Appreciation: Awarded to CentroNia Child Care Center (2018)

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.