The first few years of a child’s life largely influence the quality of his or her future. Children are constantly developing mentally, emotionally, and physically. When child care and after school programs provide nutritious meals, children have the foundation to grow up healthy and strong. Participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), can help set children on a lifelong path to greater physical health.
Why Give Nutritious Meals?
The benefits of nutritious meals span age groups, but for children there are a few key advantages. Nutritious meals:
- Give Long-lasting Energy | Sugar-filled foods might give children a boost, but that boost wears off quickly, which is less than ideal for times in which they need sustained concentration. In fact, lower IQs and other behavioral problems have been linked to poor childhood nutrition. After school and child care food programs can provide healthy meals to children who may not otherwise get them at home, and thus enhance children’s ability to learn.
- Promote Physical Growth | As we know, children grow in spurts. Providing adequate nutrition at all times ensures children’s bodies have the resources they need for unpredictable growing patterns—cognitive or physical.
- Prevent Disease | High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity have all been linked to poor nutrition. Child care food programs, which provide children the right nutrition, help prevent these issues from arising later in life.
How Child Care Food Programs Help Provide Nutritious Meals
The USDA Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) provides financial reimbursement for child care and after school programs that serve healthy snacks and meals, provided they meet USDA standards. The food program for care providers helps licenced nonprofit child care centers, for-profit licenced child care centers, and at risk after school programs in which a quarter of families served are considered low-income.
Need Help with the Reimbursement Process?
Partners in Quality Care is here to help you navigate the CACFP. We will work with you to help you sign up, and to get the funding you need to help provide healthy meals for the children in your program.
Partners in Quality Care has the experience to help you navigate and process necessary paperwork, provide CACFP training, help you understand CACFP materials, and work with federal and state authorities on behalf of your program. If the children in your program could benefit from funding for nutritious meals and snacks, contact Partners in Quality Care at 651-925-9344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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