New USDA Food Guidelines For Child Care


A Hearty Breakfast


On April 25, 2016, USDA released the new Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requirements. All CACFP programs must comply with the updated meal pattern requirements no later than October 1, 2017; however, there are many meal pattern changes that you may start implementing now.

The updated meal patterns strengthen the nutritional quality of meals served and address dietary needs of CACFP participants. DPI and USDA strongly support implementing the allowed portions of the updated meal patterns as soon as possible because it will greatly benefit CACFP participants and will help to phase in the new requirements.

Child care centers, Family Child Care homes, and public schools must all comply with the new meal pattern requirements. These guidelines ensure that nutritional meals are being served to benefit all children in their care.

Parents should get a menu from their child care center or family child care home provider weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to ensure nutritional meals are served in accordance with new guidelines. In addition, center and home providers will have guidelines regarding what outside foods are allowed into their establishments. For example, many will not allow the fast food meals because they are required to abide by the above guidelines.

Whole Grains

Please click the highlighted link above to download PDF of the new meal patterns.

Comment below if your center has the updated guidelines.

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  1. Wow! I’ve printed this for my own personal use. I’m always “winging it” when it comes to nutrition and try not to stress about it. This will be nice to have printed material to show the kids the importance of eating healthy too. Maybe we can even make a food chart for them to check off so they can understand the important of healthy eating. Thanks Evelyn!

  2. I’ve heard about these changes. Many food manufacturing companies are stressing over it, since even broader changes by the USDA/FDA affect them too. It means that they will have to update they’re labels to meet the new guidelines. Let’s hope they comply to make it easier for people to choose and create healthier meals. I’ve also downloaded the nutrition handout. Thanks!

  3. I send my daughter to school with her Lunch because even though it’s healthy they haven’t figured out the taste part. Every thing me I had lunch with my daughter I would look around at the other kids food and it looked disgusting. Chicken just blanched in water and nothing else. I know this is the only meal some kids get so they really need to do better

  4. I’m a teacher and are school is great for healthy food, we have a salad bar that I absolutely love. I think promoting healthy eating at a young age really is the key, my son eats better than me.

  5. Very glad to have this information. I actually plan to go in to my daughter’s school this week to get a printout and compare whether it’s up to par or not.

  6. Very helpful, I just had to take another nutrition class with my daughter. She has always eaten healthy but knowledge is power and the more you know the more you grow.

  7. I always look at the monthly meal calendars given by the school but had no idea on the update of changes. Let’s see how the food changes next school year.

  8. We have our children help us grow and raise their own food (veggies and chickens for eggs) and they are pretty adventurous eaters. I love that they will try anything, and love so many different foods.

  9. This is really good to know.I am happy that it is being done because childhood obesity, heart attacks among children and diabetes are becoming more common. I wonder how many child care centers will truly abide by these new rules.

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