"My children were exposed to many foods that we did not normally offer at home. And of course they ate it for Amy where they never would for me." ~ Lainie
Child Care Nutrition
Good nutrition is vital to children's learning and physical development. These child care nutrition policies have been designed to encourage the development of good eating habits that will last a lifetime.
Meals and Snacks are Child Care Nutrition
Due to my desire to promote your child's health and provide good child care nutrition, I have been a member of the Federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) since 1996, and go above and beyond CACFP child care nutrition guidelines for meals and snacks.
A wide variety of nutritionally balanced, high quality foods are prepared and served on the premises each day. Meals are served family style; each child is encouraged to serve him or herself, and to take a "practice bite" of each food that is offered.
Child Care Nutrition is Routine
In order to limit time away from the children and to promote healthy eating habits, food is available only at scheduled times. Children who choose not to eat will be offered food again at the next scheduled meal or snack. Meal and snack times are planned so that no child will go more than three hours without being offered food. Scheduled meal times are 9:00-9:30, 12:00-12:45, and 3:30-4:00. If your child is absent during a scheduled meal or snack please plan to feed him/her before he/she arrives. Although fast food is convenient, please do not bring your child with a fast food meal or drink as this undermines efforts to teach healthy habits to the children.
Child Care Nutrition Considers Allergies
Food allergies are becoming more common among infants and young children. It is important for us to work together to provide a safe environment for your child. I am experienced in reading ingredient lists and accommodating special diets, however since I have no way of knowing what happens when your child is at home I rely on you to keep me updated about any changes in your child's allergies.
To help keep your child safe, please provide the following information and materials, and update them as necessary:
- Verification of the food allergy and its level of severity, signed by a doctor.
- Complete and current health and medication forms.
- Updated emergency contact numbers on file and on the sign-in form.
- A doctor's order for EpiPen, and/or any other necessary medications.
- Signed parental consent to administer medications.
- A sufficient supply of up-to-date medications.
Accommodations for food allergies will be made on a case-by-case basis. If the allergy is not severe or life-threatening, reasonable substitutions will be made to the menu. If the allergy is severe and life-threatening, the specified foods will not be served. In the case of an allergy so severe that it is dangerous for the child to come into contact with small amounts of the food or breathe in its odor I will take reasonable precautions to prevent an allergic reaction, with the understanding that complete protection is not possible. Food allergies are posted in the kitchen; confidentiality of the child’s allergy shall be maintained.
Child Care Nutrition Accommodates Special Diets
If your child has religious or lifestyle dietary restrictions I will make reasonable adjustments to the menu in order to accommodate his/her needs. If a comparably priced substitution is readily available, it will be provided to all the children. However, if no comparably priced, substitution is readily available, food preferences will be accommodated on a child-by-child basis. For example, a vegetarian child may be offered meatless spaghetti sauce while the other children have meat sauce.
If you choose to provide alternative foods such as soy milk, lactose-free cheese, and the like, these must be labeled with the child’s name and date opened. If you choose to send an entire meal to Amy & Kids Co, the meal must follow USDA requirements for child care nutrition. If your child is not able to follow the USDA child care nutrition guidelines due to special dietary needs, I am required to have a written doctor’s order to follow. Please do not send gum, candy or other foods to Amy & Kids Co. without prior arrangements.
Child Care Nutrition Includes Special Treats
A well-balanced child care nutrition plan includes occasional treats, and what better time for treats than a birthday or holiday? Birthday and holiday treats help make these days even more special for the children.
Although we greatly appreciate it when parents send in treats, it is not necessary. If you wish to send a special birthday or holiday treat please speak to me ahead of time, and keep nutrition in mind when deciding on a treat. Individual chocolate milk or 100% juice boxes, party mixes, snack crackers and fruit snacks are all favorites of the children and healthier alternatives to traditional party food. If you are unable to send a birthday treat, I will provide one so we can all celebrate your child’s birthday together.
Child Weekly Menus Promote Child Care Nutrition
The weekly menus have been reviewed by a Registered Dietician and are planned with optimal nutrition in mind. Each menu is designed to provide a wide variety of foods that are different in color, shape, size and texture. Menus include a wide variety of foods, including those that are the children’s favorites, new or unfamiliar, culturally diverse, and seasonally appropriate. In addition, menus are planned with children's ages and developmental abilities in mind. A four-week rotation of menus changes seasonally to provide the children with a balance of variety and familiarity. Past menus are not kept on file, but Food Program records which include past menus, are kept online.
Child Care Nutrition is Supported by the Food Program
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a Federal program that promotes healthy meals and snacks to children in child care programs. As part of the CACFP, providers serve meals and snacks that meet specific guidelines and record children's attendance at meals and snacks. In return child care providers are reimbursed a set amount per meal or snack. Providers also receive home visits several times a year, up-to-date information about feeding young children, a monthly newsletter, and various other support materials. The child care food program plays a vital role in improving the quality of child care and helping children get a healthy start in life.
CACFP Child Care Nutrition Requirements
Children two and older receive meals and snacks based on the minimum components listed below. Children under the age of two have separate requirements, based on age and development.
|Breakfast||Lunch or Supper||Snacks (any two:)|
|1% or Skim Milk||1% or Skim Milk||1% or Skim Milk|
|Grains or Bread||Meat or Alternative||Meat or Alternative|
|Fruit or Vegetable||Grains or Bread||Grains or Bread|
|2 Fruits or Vegetables||Fruit or Vegetable|
Child Nutrition Beyond CACFP Guidelines
With the rise in childhood obesity, nutrition in child care programs has never been more important. The CACFP Food Program requirements address basic nutritional needs, however I have decided to adopt healthier standards to address nourishment issues and promote the development of lifelong healthy habits. The Wellness Policy lists ways that I go above and beyond the CACFP requirements for child nutrition.