Curried chicken salad. Roasted garlic and rosemary bean soup. Roasted turmeric cauliflower. Menu selections from a hot new restaurant? Guess again. These are dishes on February’s menu for the preschoolers at Cuyamaca College’s Child Development Center.
The center announced Thursday that it recently contracted for food services through the Neighborhood House Association, a multi-purpose human services agency and the local administrators of the federal Head Start program. NHA prepares and delivers thousands of made-from-scratch meals daily to preschools like the facility at Cuyamaca College.
With an eye toward moving away from the carb-heavy, light-on-veggies dishes previously served the 2- to 5-year-olds, the child development center switched to NHA’s natural and organic meals featuring fresh produce from local farmers.
“We compost with the children and measure our food waste, and our waste was significantly lower this week,” said center coordinator Denise Blaha, who oversees the facility serving more than 70 children from the college and off-campus communities. “It was roughly 40 pounds compared to the 70-80 pounds of food waste composted every week. The children simply didn’t find the food previously served very appetizing.”
The fresh, whole foods, which are ethnically diverse and kid-tested, arrive each day from NHA’s central kitchen and are served three times daily, along with a dash of nutrition education, according to the center.
“NHA has a Harvest of the Month program for the menus so that every month a new and seasonal produce is featured,” Blaha said. “Our Intergenerational Garden volunteers use this curriculum with our children. The families are able to take home our harvest and prepare food that the children have grown.”
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