Bethesda mom launches First Bites

When Caron Gremont's daughter started preschool, she says she was astonished by the unhealthy foods at snack time.

Now, she's launching a program to help fill the void. It's called First Bites, an initiative that teaches parents and teachers how to stir up healthy, kid-approved foods. And it shows pre-school age children how to create and cook their own healthy recipes.

“It's designed to be something that can be done anywhere. I mean the cooking, it doesn't have to be cooking in an industrial kitchen. It's cooking that can be done in a classroom with basic stuff in a blender,” Gremont says.

In January, Gremont launched her pilot program here at Ohr Kodesh, where her daughter is a student, and where parents and teachers say encouraging healthy eating education is important at an early age.

“In my mind the result was that in the classrooms, especially in the 2's, the children became very independent eaters,” says Joanie Smeltz, an administrator at Ohr Kodesh Congregation with a preschool program.

Smeltz says First Bites has helped the Ohr Kodesh curriculum transform.
“When children are here from 7:30 in the morning till 6, we give them so many opportunities to eat that it's really important that we are the providers of their healthiest choices,” she says.

Gremont's passion has gained national attention. A recent editorial in the Huffington Post has been shared more than 1,000 times on Huffington Post. She hopes to gain a 501(c)3 status soon, and hopes to bring the program to more schools in the fall. So far, Gremont says, three local schools are committed for next year.

“Watching the changes and having parents and children say ‘I ate eight carrots and I've never eaten a carrot before,’ was so validating for the kind of work I'm trying to do," she says.