Building Healthy Lifestyles for Kids
The YMCA is not only the largest provider of early childhood development, before and after school enrichment and day camp programs, we are also the healthiest provider.
When your children participate in our programs they will experience an environment rich in opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. That’s because we are committed to educating kids about healthy lifestyles, modeling healthy behaviors and cultivating environments that make healthy choices the easy choices.
Healthy Kids Day®
Every spring the YMCA promotes the importance of healthy eating and physical activity by celebrating Healthy Kids Day®. From healthy snacks to activities focused on wellness this is our annual summer kick off. At our school sites and child care development centers we highlight Healthy Kids Day® through healthful activities during the day. In addition, our YMCA families will have an opportunity to pick up healthy snacks, recipes and giveaway.
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
At the YMCA we follow Healthy Eating Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in conjunction with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Guidelines. Used collectively we are able to guide healthy eating, good nutrition and physical activity.
Here’s what your child will experience in early childhood development at the YMCA.
Modeling Good Choices
- YMCA staff model healthy eating behaviors at all times
- Our staff eat meals and snacks with the kids
- YMCA staff participate in physical activities with children
Healthy Eating Standards
- Our Menus
- Fresh ingredients
- Healthy recipes made from scratch
- Sample School Site Snack Menu
Here’s What We Have
- Water is available at all times
- Fruits or vegetables are provided at every meal and most snack
- Whole and enriched grains, with the first ingredient beginning with the word whole or enriched, are served
- At most of our locations children serve themselves family style at all meals with adult supervision
Here’s What We Don’t Have
- Fried foods are not served
- Trans fat is not on our menu
- Foods with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients are not offered
Promoting Infant Health
- Breastfeeding in our centers is welcome
- For breastfeeding families accommodations are made for fresh and frozen breast milk
- Ensure children have at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily for full day participants
- Provide children with at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily for half day participants
- Break down physical activity into smaller increments and/or include a mixture of moderate and vigorous activity
- Provide unstructured free play and structured, age appropriate activities
- Offer competitive and non-competitive physical activities
- Create daily opportunities for infants to freely explore their indoor and outdoor environments under adult supervision
- Engage daily with infants on the ground to optimize adult and infant interactions
- Provide daily tummy time, or time in the prone position, for infants less than six months of age
- Eliminate screen time for children under two years of age
- Limit screen time for children over two to less than one hour per day for full day participants and 30 minutes a day for half day participants
- Minimize a child’s exposure during screen time to advertisements that promote unhealthy choices