NACOG Head Start’s Child Nutrition Services assist families in meeting each child’s nutrition needs while promoting the development of good eating habits. Certain standards and procedures have been implemented in the following areas to improve and maintain the health and nutritional status of infants, toddlers, and pre-school children.

 

  • The identification of each child’s nutritional needs is determined by a nutritional assessment that is performed each year for all enrolled children. Nutrition assessment date include the hemoglobin/hematocrit results, height and weight as plotted on the growth charts, and information gathered from family eating patterns that include cultural preferences, special dietary requirements or feeding requirements.

  • The NACOG Head Start Nutrition Program encompasses many nutritional services within the various communities to meet the nutritional needs and feeding requirements of each child. Nutrition Consultants are available to provide parent counseling regarding the nutritional status of their child and provide staff and parents with nutrition education as needed. They also provide technical assistance with menu planning, food budgeting, sanitation and special diets. Nutritional needs and requirements are met by contracting with food service providers through school districts or senior center settings. The quality of food served involves parents, community agencies and partners to ensure that meals meet cultural preferences and comply with USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requirements. Information about major community nutritional issues are identified through the Community Assessment and by the Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC). Other local partners, such as the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are helpful in providing assistance.

  • Family Style Meal Service is the method of meals service that NACOG Head Start practices. The many benefits of family style meals include: children learning how to serve themselves the right amounts of food in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, developing social skills by sharing a variety of foods that consider cultural and ethnic preferences, and developing language skills by participating in mealtime conversation.

  • Parent nutrition education opportunities are offered through NACOG Head Start by qualified nutrition consultants who assist parents and staff in developing nutrition-related skills and food preparation skills. Parents are encouraged to select nutrition education activities such as Meal Planning for Pre-School Children, Healthy Snacks, Stretching Your Food Dollar, How to Read a Food Label, and Cooking With Your Child which are used to develop parent education trainings that are intended to extend nutritional skills into the home. Nutrition activities are required monthly for each center that provides an opportunity to involve children and parents with food-related activities that promote the preparation of foods that are high in nutrients and low in fat, sugar and salt.

  • Food Safety and Sanitation permits are posted and kept on file to assure that all the center based programs provide evidence that food service and handling are in compliance to all state and local statutes, rules and ordinances. In addition, NACOG Head Start only contracts with food service providers that are licensed in accordance with state, and local laws.