The Kiddie Academy of Syosset, part of a franchise system of schools that provide child care, infant care, preschool and pre-Kindergarten early education, has recently launched a complete overhaul of its menu, switching to healthier alternatives that are GMO-free, hormone-free and organic.
“This was a decision that was made after researching and learning just how bad certain foods can be for us, and especially for children,” said Sonu Chadha, president of Kiddie Academy of Syosset. “Food is their fuel. This is their growing time, when their brains and bodies are enhanced. Foods that are genetically modified affect their thinking and the way their bodies work.”
The implementation of this new menu is the product of countless hours of work and research on the part of Chadha and directors Kathy Rowan and Angie Dianderas. Chadha, who is vegan and has incorporated similar food standards in her own home, felt that this change was a necessary step toward improving the wellbeing of the students.
Chadha asserts that there is a correlation between what one consumes and their cognitive abilities. It has long been speculated that disruptions in a balanced diet, resulting from hormones and chemical additives, may be to blame for the prominence of ADHD, ADD and other mental limitations, especially among children. Further, the consumption of clean foods with high nutritional value may be linked to increased brain functioning, elevated levels of happiness and enhanced awareness.
“Anger, indecisiveness, lack of focus and not being able to control one’s emotions, that all depends on food,” said Chadha. “We really are what we eat, and now we’re allowing these kids to be happy and healthy.”
This new menu attempts to incorporate a diverse assortment of international cuisines, ranging from Italian, to Mexican, to Asian and more. Some of the most well-recieved items among students have been the chicken fingers, fishsticks, homemade pizza, macaroni and cheese, lo mein with tofu, turkey meatballs, pita quesadillas and whole grain pancakes. The ingredients are purchased from Trader Joe’s, Costco and United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), a distributor of natural and organic foods.
The reaction among the students, parents and staff alike has been overwhelmingly positive. The children have enjoyed trying the new food choices, while parents can rest assured knowing that their children are being presented with only the most beneficial foods.
Chadha and the Kiddie Academy staff have gone through strategic training in order to incorporate an educational component to the installation of the new menu. They strive to provide children with the information to understand what they are putting in their bodies, and the consequences or benefits of it. Since the change in early January, children have begun to take note of the differences between certain foods and are proud when able to distinguish organic, GMO-free and hormone-free products from those that are not.
Chadha highlighted the fact that this healthy eating initiative could not have been possible without the dedication of the staff, many of whom have personally taken it upon themselves do the foodshopping and other necessary tasks. Despite the time and energy that Chadha and others have had to sacrifice, it has all been done with the satisfaction of knowing that they setting the foundation for lifelong health in these children’s lives.
“We don’t know what happens when the kids are not here, but once they are better informed it is more likely that they will continue to be excited about making healthy choices,” said Chadha. “Whether they chose to follow on this path in the future or not is their decision, but as long as we’ve sowed that seed in their minds, we’ve done our job.”
For more information about the Kiddie Academy, visit www.kiddieacademy.com.