USU program provides food for children statewide

The new director of Utah State University’s Child Care Nutrition Program (CCNP) said the program’s primary function is to feed nutritious meals to children who might not otherwise get them.

Michael Diehl (deal) assumed his new job in early January.

“We will setup anyone interested in doing home daycare,” Diehl said. “We do a kitchen inspection, we make sure the home is safe and we set that provider up for serving more nutritious meals for the children they care for.”

Right now the CCNP is serving over 1500 children statewide enrolled in certified home care or in centers. The program operates out of the Center for Persons With Disabilities at USU.

“We estimate that for children enrolled in a home daycare or childcare setting, 75 percent of their meals every year will be consumed in those settings.”

The Utah State Board of Education approved the CCNP and six other organizations that administer the program statewide.

Eating healthy can be expensive, and day care is a notoriously low-paying profession. The cost makes it harder for providers to offer healthy meals and snacks. The CCNP offers training on healthy foods and reimburses participating providers according to Federal guidelines. It has provided reimbursements to licensed in-home day care providers in northern and eastern Utah for more than 20 years.

Though nutrition for young children is vital, the program’s goals go beyond that, Diehl said. Staff members also want to help instill good habits that children will take with them throughout their lives.

“We do most of our work in the greater North Region of the state but we service the Price area, Emery County, Moab and Blanding and we are looking to go more statewide as much as possible.”

To find out more about the Child Care Nutrition Program call 1-800-540-2169.

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