Child care spotlight | Chris Bowman

Chris Bowman takes care of children in her Mt. Airy type B child care home. She joined the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative in 2017 and was awarded the Ohio Healthy Program (OHP) designation in April 2018.

OHP is a statewide yearly recognition program for child care providers who go above and beyond licensing requirements when it comes to the health and wellness of the children they serve. To qualify, Chris completed 15+ hours of training on healthy eating and physical activity with Andrea Liptak, RD, LD of Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH).

Chris has made many changes that will give the children she cares for a healthier start in life. Here’s a look at a few things she’s doing:

Keeping kids active. “We’re definitely doing more physical activity,” she said. “I’m incorporating more games and we’re having fun. We’re working up to an hour a day.”

Cutting down on processed foods.You don’t realize how easy it is to just make that change,” Chris said. “It’s not a big deal.” The one menu item the children miss is pre-fried french fries. She’s tried baking her own fries and sweet potato fries, but is “still trying to find something that will appease them just as well.” Chris isn’t giving up!

How food makes you feel. Chris says the kids love an activity she does to teach them how certain foods make them feel. When she shows them healthy food that gives them energy, they jump up and wave their arms in the air. For less healthy foods (like the french fries!), they drop to the ground. “They kind of are getting that this is better for me, this gives me more energy,” she said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Introducing new fruits and veggies. Chris says the kids have new favorites: sweet potatoes, cauliflower, avocado, and hummus. She took the children and their parents to Jungle Jim’s to “widen our view and knowledge of fruits and vegetables.”

Click here for more information on the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative.