Michelle Baggett has operated Blessed Christian Daycare Learning Center, a family child care home in Northside, for 17 years. Her program has achieved Ohio’s 4-Star Step Up To Quality rating.
How Michelle & Blessed Christian Daycare THRIVE!:
WeTHRIVE! Child Care Wellness Resolution: Michelle signed the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Wellness Resolution in 2016. This shows her commitment to provide a healthful environment for the children in her care by following guidelines on physical activity, screen time, safe sleep practices, nutrition, and tobacco.
Ohio Healthy Programs Award: Blessed Christian Daycare was awarded the Ohio Healthy Programs (OHP) designation in 2017. OHP is a statewide yearly recognition program for child care centers that commit to providing a healthier environment for the children they serve through written policies, menu enhancements, Step up to Quality trainings, and family engagement. Michelle also completed the 15-hour Healthy Children, Healthy Weights curriculum.
Growing Healthy Foods: Michelle started a vegetable garden ten years ago. Every year, her families decide what to plant. Right now, they are growing cucumbers, watermelon, spinach, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes. The kids help with watering and pulling weeds. Michelle serves what’s harvested and also shares it with her families.
Fruit & Veggie Challenges: Every week, Michelle chooses a new fruit or vegetable to introduce. She serves this food and sends home pictures and stickers with the kids, challenging parents to try it as well. This is how she has introduced unfamiliar foods like eggplant, ugli fruit, and kiwi.
Michelle’s Tips for Care Providers:
- Start small by introducing a new food every week or every other week, whatever works for you. Use the fruit and vegetable challenge cards (provided by WeTHRIVE!).
- Make it taste good: Michelle cooks with things like fresh garlic and
peppermint from her neighbor’s garden. “I sauté asparagus in a cast iron skillet with fresh garlic and other spices,” she said.
- Buy what’s on sale: “Fruits and veggies are not too expensive if you get what’s on sale and in season,” Michelle said. “I have a big family and when they see things on sale, they let me know and I stock up and freeze for future use.” (Michelle shops mostly at Kroger, Aldi, and Findlay Market.)
- Kids WILL eat healthy food. “The children like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, kiwi, pears, pineapple, cucumbers, corn, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and green beans…but not eggplant!” Michelle said.
In Her Own Words:
“My biggest challenge is encouraging parents to try new foods at home. The kids will eat what the parents eat, and unfortunately that’s often fast food.”
“WeTHRIVE! and OHP’s mission of healthy eating and exercise appealed to me. I like that WeTHRIVE! is doing this for the well-being of the community.”