The Center

Nutrition Recovery

Over the last 20 years, more than 1,500 malnourished children have been returned to health at the Center

What We Do

Children receive two protein-rich meals each day, five days per week. Meals are prepared onsite and vegetables are cultivated in the Center’s organic garden. Families receive nutritional education. The children who come to the Center malnourished generally regain health within 6 months.

The Nutrition Recovery Program accepts about 50 children each year.  All needy children are admitted free of charge. Since its inception in 1995, the Center has seen over 1,500 malnourished children.

Children are recruited at the beginning of the school year through a community census program run. No malnourished child has ever been turned away.

The daily program includes nutrition-rich breakfast, group activities, laundry services, bathing and hand-washing, snack, recess, lunch, and nap time. As part of the program, mothers are required to attend the Center for instruction in childcare and nutrition, including the nutritional meal prep.

Progress is monitored through weekly measurements of body weight and arm circumference and any medical treatment needed during their tenure is provided free of charge. All children receive daily vitamin supplements.

Examples of nutritious meals:

Breakfast: Cornmeal porridge with one egg and purified water or juice

Snack: Milk and fruit (banana, papaya, mango, pineapple)

Main meal: “green leaf soup” (see recipe below), rice & beans, or asopao (chicken and rice stew)

Thank you to Goya Foods for their continued donations of healthy food to the children of the Elizabeth Seton Nutrition Center.

Green Leaf Soup

(serves 8)

This recipe, developed by Catherine McGowan, relies solely on locally available foods. The leaves of the vegetables are used because they take less time to cultivate than the root and can be replenished more quickly. These particular green leaves were selected because they have the highest levels of nutrients including protein, iron, vitamin A and calcium; the leaves are also much higher in nutrients than the root itself. The soup contains the complete daily recommended nutrients for children.

  • 6 cups chopped green leaves from spinach, squash, radish or sweet potato plants
  • 1/2 pound chopped squash and carrots
  • 6 cups pasta or rice
  • 10 cups water
  • onion
  • garlic
  • cilantro
  • bouillon (any type)