The Child and Adult Care Food Program was created to improve health by affecting the early development of children’s eating habits. Good food habits help lay the foundation for positive health attitudes throughout life. Wise food choices during early childhood may prevent or reduce problems with excessive weight gain, tooth decay, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. Parents and caregivers (providers) have direct control over the selection, preparation, and service of foods that influence the child’s health. This program also aims to promote the latest recommendations of the “dietary guidelines for Americans” as they relate to children.
Here are just some of the benefits The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) has:
FOR THE CHILD:
Receiving proper nutrition during the early years of life means fewer physical and educational problems later in life. In addition, these early years are when patterns and habits are established that may determine the quality of one’s diet throughout life. Children participating in the CACFP are provided meals that must meet USDA nutrition requirements. These meals not only help the child learn and grow today, but also help the child learn eating principles that will help them achieve their fullest potential in the future.
FOR THE PARENT:
Parents are assured that their child (ren) receive high quality meals at no extra cost to them. In addition, their child, who has the opportunity to eat nutritious, balanced meals, is less likely to experience illness, fatigue, and will develop at a normal physical and intellectual pace, and be an all-around happier child.
FOR THE PROVIDER:
Providers can afford to furnish higher quality meals to children in their care without straining other program resources, which are important to the provision of quality childcare services. Nutrition education is given to caregivers, which helps them recognize how to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for children. It also helps them learn how to encourage children in the development of positive eating habits.
FOR THE COMMUNITY:
In helping to meet the total nutritional needs of young children in out-of home care settings, the CACFP results insignificant enrichment and improvement of the quality of child care provided in our community.