Friday, December 14, 2012

Economic Security Head Start in Joplin Achieves Advanced Level on Eat Smart Guidelines

Monday, December 17 at 1 p.m., Economic Security Head Start will be recognized for achieving the Advanced level of the Eat Smart Guidelines. The event will occur at Joplin North Head Start, 1200 North Main in Joplin.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services established the Eat Smart guidelines to help child care facilities work toward anticipated changes in child care meal eating patterns. Economic Security chose to adopt these guidelines before it is required because it is the best thing for the children.

“Children can receive between 50 percent and 75 percent of their daily calories while they are in our care,” said Bebe Schaeffer, Nutrition Coordinator for Economic Security Head Start. “Adopting the Eat Smart Guidelines at the Advanced level assures that the foods we provide are the healthiest possible.”

A major goal of Head Start is to help children develop healthful lifelong eating habits. When the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services established the three levels of the Eat Smart guidelines, Bebe decided that she wanted to adopt the level that offered the best nutritional value for the children they serve, Advanced.

“We did this for the children,” said Bebe. At the Advanced level, children receive more whole grains, more fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk, less processed foods, and fewer sweets.

Bebe said that she would never have been able to reach the goal of achieving Advanced Eat Smart status without the help of her food supplier, Marrone’s of Pittsburg, Kansas and Travis Roach from Hiland Dairy. These suppliers worked with her to provide whole grain breads and pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fat-free milk to the 665 pre-school aged children Economic Security serves at 16 sites in Jasper, McDonald Newton and Barton Counties.

“I have observed the children eating the meals with whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Tammy Roberts, a nutrition specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “They enjoy the variety of food offered. Complaints are rare.”

“Our children are developing nutritional habits that can last for a lifetime. We are thrilled to be able to provide the highest level of nutrition possible for them,” said Bebe.


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