Bright From the Start leads the charge on making changes for a healthier future

September 22nd, 2014 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Written by Arli Boustead, NAP SACC Coordinator, Live Well Omaha Kids

BFTS-LogoWhat would you say if your child care provider told you that because much of your child’s time and roughly 75% of your child’s food intake is on their watch, they are making big changes to ensure your child’s nutrition, health and fitness are their highest priority?

Do the happy dance? Yeah, me too!

That is just what Bright From The Start Child Development Center, LLC (BFTS) did. Owners Jillian Yeshnowski and Megan Enger, along with Dawn Smith, their Food Program Manager attended Live Well Omaha Kids’ NAP SACC Learning Collaborative in the spring of 2014. Through the program, they gained insight into the issue of childhood obesity and how child care can help kids develop healthy habits for life.

After the very first NAP SACC workshop BFTS decided to limit their cereal selections to those that have less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, and offer sugary snacks one time per week or less. They didn’t stop there. They’ve added physical activity time to their learning structure and also updated their menu to be a healthy and wholesome 4-week cycle menu; giving the kids variety and exposing them to all kinds of healthy foods. They are also offering monthly cooking classes to expose kids to healthy foods, outside of mealtime. This helps the children explore food with no pressure to eat or try and are often more open to trying foods when they have a chance to ‘play’ with it.

In June, Jillian and Megan sent a letter to their parents:

The nutrition cause has become an important one to us because of the state of childhood health nationwide. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years. In the U.S. one third (33%) of all children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Preschoolers who are overweight are 5x more likely to be overweight as young adults and if left unresolved by age 10 they are 80% more likely to be obese in middle age. It was clear after learning of these startling and frankly bleak statistics that there was an urgency for us to make changes to our nutrition curriculum.

The owners go on to say that the good news is the child care setting is ideal for promoting early development of healthy behaviors in children. They describe their menu changes and how they’ll be sharing monthly information with parents because it’s “important to work with each family to provide a system of care.”

If a parent avoided obesity-related health care costs – from birth to 18 years – they would save nearly $50,000. Owners of Bright From The Start are setting a new standard of child care with the way they are educating and leading the charge for children and families to lead healthier lifestyles. All child care providers should feel so empowered with information and support to set the standard of care that our children deserve.

Thank you, Bright From The Start Child Development Center, LLC. You are truly leading the charge to reduce childhood obesity.

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For more information on the developing a program for children that influences healthy lifestyles, visit the or for specific information about the Live Well Omaha Kids NAP SACC workshops, visit or contact Arli Boustead at 402.215.3721 or

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