Business Spotlight: Youthland Academy Inc.

children eating lunch and talking with chef Kevin
Chef Kevin is very popular with
the kids at Youthland Academy-Norwood.
He does double duty as the center's
cook and a teacher in the after school program.

children eating lunch at table in child care center
Kids at Youthland-Norwood enjoy a lunch
of homemade turkey meatloaf, diced carrots,
applesauce and whole grain bread.

teacher eating lunch with children at youthland child care center
At all Youthland centers,
staff eat with the children, talk about
the food, and teach table manners. 

Youthland Academy Inc is a family-owned business. Founded in 1983, its corporate office is currently in Montgomery. Visit Youthland on facebook.

Youthland has 11 corporate-owned child care centers throughout Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Kenton (Ky.) counties. Additional centers are franchises. They also run a summer day camp in Mason for children ages 6-12.

WeTHRIVE! Activities:
Youthland Academy’s area child care centers adopted the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Resolution in fall 2013. But even before this, the company showed a strong commitment to reversing childhood obesity and teaching children that healthy choices can be delicious, fun and educational. Megan Schmitt from Youthland corporate leads the 11 child care centers in WeTHRIVE! strategies to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and eliminate tobacco exposure.

The Youthland Difference: Healthy Menus that THRIVE!:
Youthland re-vamped its menus about five years ago. The new menus stand out because of the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, and lean meats. It’s mostly whole foods here—few processed foods. And Youthland does all this without increasing tuition!

  • Breakfast: The morning meal always includes fresh fruit, such as bananas, strawberries and blueberries. Cereals are whole grain and low in added sugar. Milk for children age 2 and up is 1%. 
  • Lunch: Where many other centers rely on frozen entrees, Youthland’s children eat homemade dishes like chicken pita pizza, oven baked tilapia, and whole grain spaghetti with turkey meatballs.
  • Snacks: You won’t packaged snack cakes or salty snacks here. Children enjoy soynut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread, raw veggies with dip, yogurt with fresh fruit, and hard cooked egg slices.
  • Mealtime: Youthland cooks and teachers are key to the success of the centers’ healthy menus. They introduce each food to the children, talking about what it is and how it helps them grow and be healthy. Staff also teaches proper table manners and sits down to eat with the children.

In Her Own Words:
Megan Schmitt of Youthland's corporate office: “Using fresh produce and cooking from scratch does cost a little bit more, and it requires more from our cooks. But it’s not that great of an expense, especially when you consider the cost/benefit ratio. We’re setting children up for a healthy start in life.”

Get updates and information about WeTHRIVE!—Join the WeTHRIVE! Movement today! 
Visit Hamilton County Public Health. Follow WeTHRIVE! on social media: Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Subscribe to our Channel on YouTube Follow our WeTHRIVE! Board on Pinterest Follow us on Google Plus 

February 26, 2015