Originally published in the Summer 2022 Issue of Kansas Child Magazine.
Did you know that children in child care receive an average 40% of their daily calories while in the child care setting?
Scientists have learned that a child’s first five years set the stage for the rest of their lives. Child care providers have a powerful opportunity to instill healthy habits in young children that have a lasting impact on health.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Child and Adult Care Food Program, also known as the CACFP or “food program,” is a federal program that provides funding to supplement the cost of nutritious meals and snacks served to children while in child care. The goal of the CACFP is to improve and maintain the health of children through nutritious meals and snacks, promote good eating habits, and integrate nutrition education to develop lifelong healthy habits.
Research shows that well-nourished children are healthier and more attentive and have better mental performance than children who are undernourished. Findings also indicate that
CACFP operators serve healthy meals and snacks that include more whole grains and greater varieties of vegetables and fruits and that contain less added sugar and saturated fat.
Benefits for CACFP Providers
CACFP providers play a critical role in supporting the health, wellness, and development of children. Providers receive other benefits, too:
- Financial security,becauseproviders are always better off financially when they join the food program
- Free training on child nutrition topics,which counts toward licensingtraining requirements
- Menu-planning tools to help improve the quality of meals and snacks
- Nutrition education resources
Is your program participating in the CACFP? If so, thank you for your commitment to nutrition security! If not, we’d love to hear from you and discuss your participation options!