Children’s Hospital of San Antonio unveils ground-breaking culinary health and education program

Healthy eating and nutrition are central to keeping children well, so with help from The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio (CIA), Goldsbury Foundation, and H-E-B, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio unveiled today its pioneering new culinary health and education program aimed at reducing childhood obesity and improving access to nutritious food for patients of the Hospital and the community at large.

As the major health care provider for children in the region, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is perfectly positioned to take a holistic approach to child wellness by the creation of this multifaceted program.

The program will provide a comprehensive and carefully designed approach to childhood health and nutrition, incorporating many first elements in our community, such as:

  • First Children’s Hospital Teaching Kitchen, designed by The Culinary Institute of America, which will offer nutrition and hands-on cooking courses created by the CIA in conjunction with the clinical experts at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, with support of Aramark, the Hospital’s food services provider. These will be offered to patients and open to the general public.
  • First Children's Hospital to be surrounded by extensive Teaching and Healing gardens, designed by OVERLAND and CO’DESIGN, will include 2.4 acres for patients and families to play, pray, and learn through interactive experiences, and about the foundations of a healthy diet.
  • Along with H-E-B, launching "Prescriptions for Produce," a program in which physicians of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio can write prescriptions for produce to be redeemed at their local H-E-B stores.


“San Antonio is ground zero for this kind of innovative program” said Pat Carrier, President/CEO CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System. “Our team is committed to providing the children and families of  this community with the resources, tools, and education they need to live healthier lives while tackling childhood obesity rates,” Carrier said.

In April of 2013, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio announced a $20 million dollar grant from Goldsbury Foundation. As part of this gift, $5 million of that $20 million gift has been allocated for the development and implementation of innovative, community-focused, collaborative health and wellness initiatives. Today it was announced that the $5 million is being used to create the ground-breaking
culinary health and education program.

Community outreach is a large part of this initiative, and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has engaged several trusted community organizations—the YMCA, KIPP, The San Antonio Food Bank, and Good Samaritan, among others—to pilot and test curriculum and educational workshops on health and nutrition.

“With the creation of this revolutionary new program, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will be able to provide important nutritional information, engaging food preparation classes, and intensive clinical interventions, that when combined, offer an innovative and uniquely comprehensive approach to preventing and treating childhood obesity,” said Mark Gilger, MD, Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

The teaching kitchen and garden are currently under construction with an anticipated completion date of fall, 2015. While in the teaching kitchen or dining area, Hospital staff and visitors, both children and parents, will see the organic vegetable and herb garden beyond, reinforcing the connection between fresh
ingredients and fresh food. The garden environments will be an extension of the kitchen and will feature shaded outdoor seating surrounded by raised garden terraces.

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and its partners are extending healthy eating education and access to healthy foods via innovative channels out into the community, including the major grocery provider in the community.

“H-E-B is excited to be a part of this project that will ultimately impact the future health of not just children, but entire families throughout San Antonio and all of South Central Texas,” said Kate Rogers, H-E-B vice president for communication and engagement.

“It is a natural alliance for the major children’s health care provider and H-E-B to work together to research and present the most effective programs to improve culinary health, such as prescriptions for produce, healthy cooking classes and educational workshops,” Rogers said.

In addition to the new culinary program, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is the proud sponsor of the entire lower level of the H-E-B Body Adventure at the Witte Museum, which includes the Demonstration Kitchen and the Toddler Discovery Garden; both areas encourage a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating. School children and families will be able to watch a live food demonstration and leave with a recipe card so they can create the same healthy dish at home.

Over the past 30 years, the number of overweight children has tripled in the U.S., and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is now estimated that one in five children in the U.S. is overweight.