Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nutrition guidelines for child care centers

There are changes ahead on the menu at day care centers and adult care homes receiving federal food subsidies. More fruits and veggies and whole grains are in; added sugar is on the way out.

The nutrition guidelines for day care centers and day care homes taking part in a federal program subsidizing meals have been revised by USDA. The new rules, which are due to be implemented by Oct. 1, 2017, require more while grains and a wider variety of vegetables and fruit and fewer added sugars and solid fats in meals.

The Food Research & Action Center hailed the changes as an improvement in improving nutrition for at-risk children.

“By offering meals consistent with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, child care and afterschool programs will provide millions of low-income children better access to much-needed fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lower-fat dairy foods,” FRAC president James Weill said on the organization’s website. “This is an important step in addressing the nutritional shortfalls in our nation’s children’s diets and helping to tackle the nation’s obesity problem.”

The guidelines apply to programs taking part in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which supplies grants to qualifying public and private non-profit child care centers, adult day care centers, afterschool programs and shelters. The program is administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which published the new rules on April 25.

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