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A celebration: Healthy Habits Start Early

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 17-23

Director Wise eating a family-style meal with children at DMACC Child Development Center
Director Wise eating a family-style meal with children at DMACC Child Development Center

It’s Child and Adult Care Food Program Week (CACFP) Week, a time to raise awareness of the healthy meals and snacks provided in over 1,500 homes and 673 childcare centers in Iowa every day.

The CACFP is a USDA Program administered through the Iowa Department of Education’s Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services. Here are two examples of how CACFP is helping children develop healthy habits early.

  • Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Child Development Center in Ankeny is one of 27 CACFP centers participating in Healthy Habits Start Early, a project funded through a USDA Team Nutrition grant. The project aims to support and improve healthy child-care environments through nutrition education, smarter meal times, and training. Program Director Sherri Sciarrotta says, “We are making positive changes in our wellness environment by providing training for our staff and purchasing materials for our garden space. The changes impact the children and their families.”
  • Angela Dobbs is a home provider in Cresco who participants in CACFP. "The ultimate goal is to have everyone, even the babies, included in as many activities and experiences," Dobbs said. While the children in her care learn letters, numbers, and shapes, they also focus on nutritional experiences. The children tend the garden, harvest the produce and help in the kitchen making recipes ranging from veggie meatballs to “make your own sub day.” Meals are served family style with the children utilizing small utensils and bowls, while practicing their manners passing plates and eating.

For more information about CACFP, contact Robin Holz at

For more information about National CACFP Week, visit the National CACFP Sponsors Association webpage.

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on December 06, 2021 at 8:25pm.