Building Healthy Habits, One Child at a Time

August 7, 2017


“Where does milk come from?”

“A cup.”

Children in Angela Lyshe-Thierry’s neighborhood don’t meet many cows or get to observe fields that grow the produce they eat being plowed, planted and harvested. There isn’t even a neighborhood grocery store where they can go to see a colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Angela feeds the six children in her family child care program breakfast, lunch and a snack each day. She became involved with the 4C Child Nutrition Program 20 years ago to get help with the costs associated with buying food for her program.

Budgets are tight in many child care programs and being able to afford healthy food for children can be a challenge. 4C’s Child Nutrition Program administers the federal meal reimbursement program for child care providers, and a 4C specialist works with each provider to help plan menus and create food budgets.

“Most parents don’t have someone to teach them how to feed their children,” Angela says. “The parents I work with often choose whatever is most convenient.” Through her involvement in the 4C program, she not only gets reimbursed for meals, but has also learned how to shop for, plan, and prepare healthy foods “that the children in my program would not get at home.”

In addition, Angela helps guide parents in making healthy choices at home. “Children love to tell their parents what they do at school each day. When I teach children about where the food comes from and how it’s prepared, they share that information with their parents.”

When typical methods of getting a child to try new foods doesn’t work, she calls her 4C specialist. “I’ve discovered how to ‘hide’ nutritious food in tasty recipes,” she says.

She has also helped children discover the benefits of drinking more water. So much so that now they ask for water at home, too. As time has passed, she has seen that “parents who used to send sugary drinks with their children are now sending bottles of water.”

Water, fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s all making a difference, one child at a time. Thanks to 4C’s Child Nutrition Program, thousands of children are receiving healthy meals so they can develop good eating habits that will carry them through school and life.

Written for 4C for Children's 2016 Annual Report. Read the full report.