Has participating in the TOP star program affected your personal health?
What improvements have you seen since implementing TOP Star?
"Our childcare center received the information about the Top Star Program in April 2011. Upon researching the program, we as the center management, decided to have a meeting with the staff to determine if they were interested. Our feedback was positive and the staff was eager to incorporate healthy eating. Our center was already on a grant where we were encouraging healthier eating and incorporating more physical activities in the classrooms. So the biggest changes we did were to include more 100% wheat products, (bread, crackers, rolls, bagels etc), introduced skim milk and reduce the cookies and fried foods. Collectively, we have notices the children did not really complain at all about the changes. More of the adults were concerned that the children would not eat. However, they were very surprised to see they were eating the new foods."
Over 20 children spend their day in the care of Missy Monsivais, owner, and her assistant, Lisa Hummel at Imagination Time in West Point, Utah. These children now eat better, enjoy more active time, and spend less time in front of the screen than they did just five months ago. As a home child care provider, Missy was one of the first to join the TOP Star program in Davis County. At the beginning of March, the television was turned on nearly all day long at Imagination Time. It served not only as entertainment for the kids, but also background noise. After implementing structured activity time, games, crafts, remodeling the backyard for more play space, and planning weekly field trips, the children now only spend about 1.5 hours, every 3 weeks in front of a screen. Initially, the television was turned on for 7-8 hours a day, now only about 30 minutes a week!
Missy and Lisa have also made a lot of changes in the way the kids are eating. Refined grains were swapped with whole grains, dried fruit replaced cookies, and skim milk is used instead of 2%. Food Fridays have even found a home at Imagination Time. Once a week, the kids are introduced to a new food, such as red cactus pears. It is fun for the kids to try something different that is good for their bodies. Missy said, "I am glad that I am doing this program. We have made a lot of changes at the facility that have not only affected the kids' health, but also mine and my family's. I am happy."
Ready, Set, Grow Childcare & Preschool
Ready, Set, Grow Childcare & Preschool owner/director, Debbie Reid, has made great improvements in the areas of nutrition and physical activity at her facility since enrolling in TOP Star. Over the past 5 months she has participated in monthly TOP Star workshops where she has gained knowledge to improve her facility's environment. "Before enrolling in TOP Star, I didn't know how to improve the nutrition/physical activity environment in my home and with the children under my care. I wouldn't have made it a priority had I not gotten involved with TOP Star. Now I know where to go to get information and assistance," Debbie said.
Debbie now has morning teacher-led active time with the children. She purchased bean bags that the kids dance with. Once the colder winter months come she plans to use active music at least 2 times per day. She has been taking the children to the park and has increased outdoor active time daily. She has been more conscientious about reading labels when purchasing food. She has eliminated pre-fried and high fat foods from her menu. She now makes her own chicken nuggets and fish sticks in bulk and freezes them. She has removed all junk food from her cabinets and replaced it with fresh fruits and vegetables. She has been stocking up on fresh produce in season and freezing it for later use. She plans to begin making her own homemade whole grain bread and would like to begin drying fruit to use in the winter months. Her next step is to replace high fat crackers with lower fat whole grain options.