Healthy Meals in Childcare

Apr 13, 2015 by

Healthy Meals in Childcare

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to update its meal pattern and nutrition guidelines for childcare. The update has provided advocates and nutrition experts from around the country, including the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition’s Statewide Early Learning Workgroup, to comment on the guidelines. Our recommendations can be viewed in our letter here.

Included among our several suggestions was the elimination or restriction of sugary fruit juice for certain age groups, and a strong emphasis on making water widely available during meal and snack times. Other suggestions for food reimbursement focused on discouraging processed and fried foods, and requiring that a fruit or vegetable be served for at least one snack per day.

Children across the U.S. spend a great deal of time each week in childcare settings, and yet many of these facilities have yet to see the improvements in recent years that schools have experienced in healthy meal and snack offerings. The new U.S.D.A. guidelines present an important opportunity to influence healthy eating habits at all ages, but particularly for young children who are just beginning to form these habits and spend the bulk of their day in childcare.

Comments to the U.S.D.A. are due Wednesday, April 15th. We invite you to use any of the talking points in our letter to share your thoughts on how the guidelines can be improved.

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