A child who grows up overweight has a 70% chance of being overweight as an adult, and Nevada ranks in the bottom 50% of the country in obesity in children ages 10-17. Attributing to this problem is that the state of Nevada has no mandated nutrition health curricula or physical education for K-12 public schools. Our goal is to close the nutrition education gap, thereby helping to build a healthier minded community.
Chefs for Kids is on a mission to alleviate malnutrition and hunger in children through education and awareness. We do this by partnering with nutrition educators, local chefs and companies to deliver Nutrition Education Programs that directly impact a child's understanding of food.
For more than 30 years, we have been the only CCSD sanctioned nutrition education program - face to face with more than 200,000 students.
Healthy Eating Education Programs
Produce Pick of the Month
Delivered to Title I schools by our nutrition education partners at The University of Nevada, Reno Extension, Produce Pick of the Month features 40 minutes of instruction in healthful nutrition practices and the importance of physical activity.
A highlight of the program is monthly food tasting where students sample the vegetable or fruit. They take part in a sensory evaluation analyzing its sensory qualities and writing down adjectives that describe them. Children also participate in a physical movement activity each class.
To bridge the gap from school to home, educational take-home handouts, written in both English and Spanish are provided. Content includes that month’s themed fruit and/or vegetable highlighted with purchasing tips, recipes, facts and statistics on how it serves the body, and more.
A reminder Choose My Plate place mat is also provided to the students to mimic a nutritious meal at home. Students learn about healthy choices and Choose My Plate throughout the year's instruction. The curriculum promotes health practices for lifelong, healthy lifestyles in children.
Cookin’ Up Breakfast
Augmenting the Produce Pick of the Month program, the Cookin’ Up Breakfast program feeds approximately 10,000 students a healthy meal each year. Each month one of our partner Title I schools receives a visit from our nutrition educators and the chefs at ACF Chefs Las Vegas who serve up smiles and a healthy breakfast. This program is also made possible through generous sponsorships from local companies.
At each breakfast the students receive a Chefs for Kids hat, a nutritious meal, milk provided by Anderson Dairy, and a fresh smoothie from Jamba Juice. Not only does this program feed their bellies, it exposes the students to a career path in the culinary arts.
"The impact of exposing students to nutrition education in school extends beyond the classroom, as we often hear of kids sharing what they learned at home, positively affecting their families’ eating habits," said Francis Castillo, Assistant Principal at Kermit R. Booker ES. "We’re grateful to Chefs for Kids for providing our students with this experience and putting a big smile on their faces."
Unfortunately for many students at the schools we serve, one of the only meals they get on a daily basis comes from school. Holiday Helpings aims to alleviate hunger during the holiday breaks. At the start of Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring and Summer breaks, students deemed high risk of not receiving enough food get a $50 grocery gift card, and a backpack with our healthy eating hero messaging "Fruits are Marvelous" and "Vegetables are Super" filled with fresh veggies and fruits. Inserted into this backpack is our Choose My Plate place mat, a reminder to mimic a nutritious meal at home, and our healthy eating hero flashcards. This aligns with our education curriculum.
These are families in extreme need and the children may only be getting one meal a day, are in transitional housing, or are homeless. School counselors work with the nutrition educators to identify families who need assistance.