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Culinary Skills in a Box - Giving Children in Child Care the Tools to Establish Healthy Habits

Culinary Skills in a Box - Giving Children in Child Care the Tools to Establish Healthy Habits

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by T&L Foundation for Child Care Information

Culinary Skills in a Box introduces child caregivers, parents & children to skills and new foods that are developmentally appropriate. Food & lessons delivered to their door monthly.

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Raddish Kids, Evergreen Nutrition Program

Please describe your project proposal.

Child care providers are empowered to try new foods and skills with Culinary Skills in a Box. Thematic recipes, skills, tools and incentives are delivered monthly to a child care provider’s home, including the recipe ingredients! This project increases access and willingness to try new foods. The box is focused on helping the provider introduce culinary skills and healthful foods to children. Culinary skills and food delivery addresses childhood obesity and food access issues in L.A. County.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Obesity

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

We will make L.A. County the healthiest place to live by changing the trajectory of children’s health in targeted high need areas. Establishing healthy habits for children of L.A. County in 2017 is growing the healthy adults of 2050. How? Culinary Skills in a Box.

It has been cited time and again that a lack of home cooked meals with fresh foods is a contributor to obesity. It is also known that high need areas are often without options to purchase fresh ingredients for recipes. There are 11 areas in L.A. County with childhood obesity rates at 30% or higher and these are the areas we are going to target. Culinary Skills in a Box addresses both contributing factors: access to healthy foods and the childhood obesity epidemic.

Culinary skills for a child enriches a culture of health by arming children with an arsenal of healthy habits to take with them into adulthood. Hard to source ingredients from a corner market? Not to worry, the ingredients for three healthy recipes per month are delivered too.

How does it work? Delivered straight to the doorstep, monthly, is a box containing everything an adult needs to institute a program to teach culinary skills to children, motivate them and be comfortable doing so. Each monthly kit includes 3 illustrated recipe guides, 3 culinary skill cards, a creative kitchen project, kid friendly kitchen tools, online bonuses and lesson plans. Don’t forget the aprons children get to wear while they are cooking and a magnet to congratulate them for a task well done. The ingredients for the recipes included in the box will also be delivered.

Why In Home Child Care? The impact is greater and long lasting. We will pilot this with 50 child care providers participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) who have 6 full-time children. We can reach 300 children with introductions to kitchen skills and healthy fresh foods, taking home what they’ve learned through provider/parent/child interaction. After participation in the project providers will be comfortable with new skills and recipes that they can introduce to families who join their care for years to come.

After the successful pilot, we can take this to other providers in L.A. county and potentially reach the more than 78,000 children in licensed in home child care.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

In an effort to determine the success and adjustments necessary regarding this pilot project, we will create an evaluation tool - two surveys - to be taken before the first culinary box is delivered and one after the final one is delivered (6 months later). One will be directed toward what made them want to participate, assess what their current culinary skills are, children’s participation in food preparation, what access to healthful foods are in their area, assess current parent engagement in regard to food served at the child care, and the child care providers’ assessment of the foods served in her care. This will help us assess if the culinary box had any impact on the foods served, children’s learning experience, the parent’s engagement as well as determine if we accurately set expectations for usage of the culinary box in the child care setting.

The second survey will help us determine the success of the box itself - responses to recipes, ingredients, delivery process, materials, tools, themes and lessons. This will help us determine if they would recommend it to other community members, if they would continue to order the box on their own, if they would seek out a grant to continue receiving the box and if they thought the children and their program benefited from the program and delivery as a whole. We will also conduct in person interviews with the providers, children, sponsors and parents to get a deeper understanding of their perceptions of the project.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support