News / Blog

The New Central Kitchen Helps Efficiently Serve ClackCoKids

By Amanda Caraway, Community Engagement Manager |

ClackCoKids has opened a Central Kitchen to help us better serve the nutritional needs of our kids in the classroom. Nutrition is a top priority for our staff because it’s such an important component in the healthy development of children. During the first 1,000 days of a child’s life (from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday) healthy nutrition is necessary to support rapid brain development, a strong immune system, and other essential functions. In addition, healthy children are better able to learn. Good nutrition gives children more energy and the ability to focus and develop their physical and social skills.

ClackCoKids Central Kitchen Staff  

Before opening the Central Kitchen, each childcare site had its own kitchen with an on-duty cook who ordered their own food. Because all centers must follow the designated meal plan crafted each month by our USDA Manager, Fred Lee, this practice was inefficient. A Central Kitchen allows us to streamline the process and ensure every childcare site serves the same, high-quality ingredients.

This central quality control is especially important for children with special dietary needs. For example, a child with diabetes must eat a specific diet and the teachers need to track things like carbohydrate intake in order to know how much insulin to administer. But it’s not healthy to simply restrict carbohydrate intake. In fact, if children do not have optimal proportions of carbohydrates in their diets, their growth can be stunted. Each component (fruit, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, and milk) of a child’s diet is important.

The Central Kitchen has also been beneficial to the agency’s budget. Before the kitchen opened, ClackCoKids spent an average of $11,500 per month on food. The first Central Kitchen order was only $8,500. That means thousands of dollars can be reallocated to other programs to serve kids. One change that is not only economical but environmentally friendly is the new practice of using washable and reusable dishes instead of disposable dishes to serve food.

If you want to learn more about the nutritional practices at ClackCoKids, read this blog.

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