Menus and Variety

Planning your menu ahead of time can ensure that you meet all of the nutritional needs of the children you serve. Making sure the menu includes a variety of foods will also help make sure that a variety of nutrients are offered to the children. Below you will find resources that can help you with menu planning.

Building Blocks for Fun and Healthy Meals

Summary: This menu planner provides tools needed to successfully prepare and serve meals and snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). It comes complete with sample menus, guidance on keeping and using production records, and information on food safety and sanitation.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/building-blocks

 

Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Patters Revision: Best Practices

Summary: The USDA has developed new CACFP meal patterns for healthy eating patterns for children and adults in care. Optional best practices were also developed that build on the meal patterns and highlight areas where additional steps can be taken to further improve the nutritional quality of the meals that are served.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cacfp/CACFP_bestpractices.pdf

 

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Promotional Flyer

Summary:  Flyer for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that provides website and phone number for more information about the program and how to sign up. 

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture

Accesshttp://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/tn/CACFPflyer.pdf

 

Child Meal Pattern for Child and Adult Care Food Program

Summary:  Outlines the food pattern for children for caregivers of children from aged 1 to 18 years of age.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cacfp/CACFP_childmealpattern.pdf

 

Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs

Summary:  This food buying guide contains all of the current information in one place. This will help you buy the right amount of food and the appropriate type of food for programs. It also determines the specific contribution each food makes toward the meal pattern requirements.

SourceUnited States Deparment of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/food-buying-guide-for-child-nutrition-programs    

 

High Five Stickers

Summary: These stickers can be downloaded to be used for kids during lessons. They can also be used to reward children when they choose to eat heathy foods from the five foods groups.

Source:  United States Deparment of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/high-five-stickers

 

Infant Meal Pattern for Child and Adult Care Food Program

Summary:  Outlines the food pattern for infants for caregivers of children from birth to aged 11 months. 

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cacfp/CACFP_infantmealpattern.pdf

 

Launch Your Day with Breakfast! Stickers

Summary: Use these stickers to help promote eating breakfast in lessons or during mealtimes.  They can be downloaded or ordered from Team Nutrition and that information is located on the page.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/launch-your-day-breakfast-stickers

 

Make Today a Try-Day!

Summary: Poster and sticker set that you can use in your day care to encourage kids to try new foods. Available by download or can order from Team Nutrition.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/make-today-try-day-cacfp-postersticker-set

 

Menu Planning Guide for Child Care Homes - Menu Magic for Children

Summary: This guide provides the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns, ideas for menu planning and grocery shopping, how to serve high quality snacks, has sample menus, grocery lists, and recipes. 

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/menu_magic.pdf    

 

MyPlate for Kids: Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables Poster

Summary: This poster shows kids how their plate or tray should look with half of it being fruits and vegetables.  Available to download or order a copy for free from Team Nutrition.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/myplate-kids-make-half-your-plate-fruits-and-vegetables-poster

 

MyPlate Posters

Summary:  MyPlate posters that are 20” X 16” in size. They are double-sided in colors of Blue/Magenta and Green/yellow.  You can download for free or order a free one using the Resource Order Form link on the page.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/myplate-posters

 

New Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Patterns:  Child and Adult Meals

Summary: The USDA recently updated the CACFP food patterns to ensure children and adults have access to healthy foods. The new child and adult meal patterns include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cacfp/CACFP_childadultmealstandards.pdf

 

New Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Patterns: Infant Meals

Summary:  The USDA recently updated the CACFP food patterns for adults and children so they have access to healthy foods.  The changes to the infant plan include the support of breastfeeding and fruits and vegetable consumption.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cacfp/CACFP_infantmealstandards.pdf

 

Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) Manual

Summary:  This manual provides the best practice recommendations for each question on the self-assessment. The manuals also include the rationale behind each recommendation, challenges to implementing recommendations, and tips for changing current practice.

Source:  Michigan Healthy Child Care

Access:  http://mihealthtools.org/childcare/resources.asp

 

Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children

Summary:  Collection of tip sheets for nutrition and physical activity. Each tip sheet focuses on a specific topic and includes a practical application section to help apply the tips to a child care program for children ages 2 through 5 years old. See pages 5-49.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/nutrition-and-wellness-tips-young-children-provider-handbook-child-and-adult-care-food-program

 

Produce for Kids: Your Healthy Family Resource

Summary:  This website is dedicated to educating about healthy eating and provides recipes, what produce is in season, and lunch box ideas. 

Source: Produce for Kids, Inc.

Accesshttp://www.produceforkids.com/news/whats-season

 

Recipes for Healthy Kids - Cookbook for Child Care Centers

Summary:  This cookbook contains the top 30 recipes from the Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition.  All the recipes have been standardized for the child care center or home.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Access:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/R4HKchildcare.pdf

 

The 3 Ring Food Circus: Easy and Fun Food-Related Activities for Preschoolers and Young Children

Summary: This book contains activities that teach young children about trying and learning new foods, having fun being physically active, and using MyPlate to fill a healthy plate. You can download a pdf from this site.

Source:  United Dairy Industry of Michigan

Access:  https://www.milkmeansmore/3-ring-food-circus