Lori Johnson is our Senior Implementation Specialist and has been with Minute Menu for 8 years. She works mainly with new sponsors who have purchased Minute Menu HX. You will also hear her friendly voice on our KidKare training webinars for childcare providers! Lori has been in the childcare industry for a very long time, and her passion and excitement shines through for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Why is the CACFP important?
Nutritious food is very expensive; the CACFP helps child care providers keep the fees for parents reasonable and allows the child care provider to be able to afford more vegetables, fruits, whole grain items and lean meats.
How does the CACFP impact the lives of children?
The CACFP impacts children in many ways – by providing nutritious meals and snacks to keep them healthy and educating them early in life to make healthy choices. Some children may not get a proper meal or enough food at home to develop normally and this certainly can impact their entire lives.
What does the CACFP mean to you?
The CACFP means that children are being taken care of as far as their nutritional needs, to grow up healthy and strong. They are the future of this world!
How has the CACFP inspired you in your work? In your personal life?
In my work life, it has inspired me to do the best I can for the providers and the sponsors teaching them how to use KidKare or Minute Menu HX. In my personal life, the CACFP has inspired me to watch what I eat, exercise regularly and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working with CACFP software?
Knowing that we are helping sponsors and child care providers make record keeping easier, so they can spend more time with the children. Even though I am not working with children directly, it’s very rewarding knowing that because of what I do the children are impacted in a positive way.
What has working with CACFP childcare sponsors and childcare providers taught you?
There are very caring people out there that want to do what’s best for children, they go the extra mile. In turn, I go the extra mile for childcare providers and sponsors.
How has your role in the childcare and CACFP space changed over the years?
When I started on the CACFP I was a childcare provider, and then moved on to work with a sponsoring agency, finally landing at Minute Menu. The CACFP has changed for the better in recent years by moving to the new meal pattern, as a former child care provider and sponsor I see all sides and how difficult change can be for all.
How do you promote a healthy lifestyle with your own family?
We follow pretty much the guidelines for the meal pattern, adding whole grains as much as possible and lots of vegetables. We mostly grill our meats and not very often do we have fried food. We rarely eat out, as you have no idea of what’s been added to the meal. We exercise regularly, mainly by taking walks with our dog Boots.
Do you have a favorite healthy recipe that follows CACFP guidelines? If so, please share.
Yes, Six- Week Bran Muffins. I used to make these all the time when my daughter was younger, she thought they were cupcakes.
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 6 cups bran cereal with raisins
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 5 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well combined. Stir in buttermilk, cereal, flour, oil, baking soda and salt; mix well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before using. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Batter may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Yield: 5-6 dozen.
To learn more about CACFP Week, head to cacfp.org/cacfpweek for tips and activities from the National CACFP Sponsors Association.