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EduCare Nutrition – Meals and Snacks

Nutrition Information - Meals & Snacks at EduCare

Nutrition is a vital component of good health. Enjoying and learning about food in childhood promotes good nutrition. Children will be given the opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to make appropriate food choices.

We use the meal pattern developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for organizations participating in the CACFP. The type and amount of foods vary according to the ages of the children.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are prepared in the center. All meals and snacks are served at least two hours apart but not more than three hours apart.

Breakfast shall include:

  1. A fruit, vegetable, or full strength fruit or vegetable juice
  2. Bread, bread product, or cereal
  3. Milk

Lunch shall include one item from each of the following:

  1. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, cooked dried peas or beans, or peanut butter
  2. Two vegetables, two fruits, or one of each
  3. Bread, bread product, or cereal
  4. Milk

Afternoon snack shall include at least two of the following:

  1. Milk, milk product, or food made with milk
  2. Fruit, vegetable, or full strength fruit or vegetable juice
  3. Meat or meat alternative
  4. Bread, bread product, or cereal

In accordance with NAEYC recommendations and food and nutrition guidelines for choking hazards, the EduCare prohibits whole grapes, nuts, and raw peas, and hard round pretzels, spoonfuls of peanut butter or large chunks of raw carrots during meals. Food is cut into small pieces no larger than ¼ inch square for infants and ½ inch square for toddlers/twos according to each child’s chewing and swallowing capabilities.

As a program that provides food to infants, we will work with families (who are informed by their child’s healthcare provider) to ensure that the food is based on the infants’ individual nutritional needs and developmental stage. (5.B.0.8a).

At least once daily children are provided with the opportunity to brush their teeth to remove food and plaque. New toothbrushes are provided by the center as needed or at the beginning of each semester and are labeled with each child’s name. (5.A.16)

After each feeding infants teeth and gums are wiped with a disposable tissue (or clean soft cloth used only for one child and laundered daily) to remove liquid that coats the teeth and gums. (5.A.13).

In addition, fresh water is available to all children throughout the day. (5.B.06). The foods we provide for infant and toddlers will be based on what you tell us about your child’s own food needs.


We Care for Breastfeeding Babies

Talk with your health care provider and let us know whether you want us to use breast milk or formula while your child is in our care. We strongly encourage mothers to breastfeed for six months and continue to breastfeeding at least a year and beyond because breastfeeding has been shown to be the superior form of infant nutrition, providing a multitude of health benefits to both the infant and mother.


Breastfeeding mothers shall be provided a place to breastfeed or express their milk.

Breastfeeding mothers, including employees, shall be provided a private and sanitary place to breastfeed their babies or express milk. This area provides an electrical outlet, comfortable chair, and nearby access to running water.


A refrigerator will be made available for storage of expressed breast milk.

Breastfeeding mothers and employees may store their expressed breast milk in the center refrigerator. Mothers should provide their own containers, clearly labeled with child’s full name, date and the time the milk was expressed. The center will follow guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control in ensuring that breast milk is properly treated to avoid waste. Universal precautions are not required in handling human milk.


Sensitivity will be shown to breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

BCC EduCare is committed to providing ongoing support to breastfeeding mothers, including providing an opportunity to breastfeed their baby in the morning and evening, and holding off giving a bottle, if possible, when is due to arrive. Artificial baby milks (formula) and solid foods will not be provided unless the mother has requested. Babies will be held closely when feeding and bottles will never be propped.


Staff will be trained in handling human milk.

All childcare center staff working with ages 0-3 will be trained in the proper storage and handling of human milk, as well as ways to support breastfeeding mothers.


Breastfeeding employees shall be provided flexible breaks to accommodate breastfeeding or milk expression.

Breastfeeding employees shall be provided a flexible schedule for breastfeeding or pumping to provide breast milk for their children. The time allowed would not exceed the normal time allowed for lunch and breaks. For time above and beyond normal lunch and breaks, sick/annual leave must be used, or the employee can come in a little earlier or leave a little late to make up the time.


Breastfeeding promotion information will be displayed.

The center will provide information on breastfeeding, including the names of area resources and support groups should questions or problems arise. In addition, positive promotion of breastfeeding will be on display in the center.

(This policy as with all policies are reviewed annually and updated to incorporate new evidence based research and practices.)

 You may choose for us to provide formula and food or you may provide these for your baby. Our center currently provides the following formulas:

  1. Carnation Instant Good Starts
  2. Enfamil with iron

Breast milk, formula, or food that you provide should be labeled with the food contents, your child’s name, and the date the formula/food was prepared or the date of collection for breast milk. Staff will store breast milk in a refrigerator for no longer than 48 hours (or no more than 24 hours if the breast milk was previously frozen) or in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below for no longer than 3 months. Staff will gently mix, not shake the milk before feeding to preserve special infection-fighting and nutritional components in human milk. We want to work with you to provide the very best nutritional care for your baby. We have provided a comfortable place for breastfeeding and will coordinate feedings with the infant’s mother; therefore we are happy to support you in your efforts to continue breastfeeding in any way that we can. Fathers are included in the discussions about breastfeeding support during the enrollment and orientation process. (5.B.0.9)

Bottles and pacifiers may be used by the children enrolled in our infant room only (Red I).   Infants and toddles do not have bottles in crib or on cots, and do not eat from propped bottles at any time. Toddlers/twos do not carry bottles, sippy cups, or regular cups with them while crawling or walking.  Teachers offer children fluids from a cup as soon as the families and teachers decide together that a child is developmentally ready to use a cup. (5.A.14 a-e).

Infants younger than twelve months are held for bottle-feeding. All others sit or are held to be fed.

Infants and toddlers/twos do not

Menus will be posted. Parents may need to provide food for children who are on restricted diets.

During meals, staff will sit with the children at the table in small groups, and socialization will be encouraged. Children will be allowed to pour their own drinks, serve themselves if able, and help with preparation, serving, and cleaning up. Meal and snack time is to be as much of a learning process as the rest of the curriculum. The center intends to serve nutritious, fresh, and often creative selections. No child will be forced to eat, but positive modeling and encouragement will be used.

Meals are included in fees. All children attending may eat. A child will not be required to sit and watch other children eat while waiting for a parent. They will be included in the meal.

We invite parents to join us for meals. Please let us know in the morning.

All meals, snacks and drinks and their preparation, service, and storage shall meet the requirements for meals of the child care component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (5.B.03) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).


Special Diets, Restrictions, and Allergies

EduCare participates in the Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program which requires that a child be served milk two times daily and that certain food requirements are met daily. If your child is allergic to an item on the menu, we must have a physician’s written statement with suggested alternatives; for milk allergy, we must have a physician’s statement.

If your child is on a restricted diet or if there is a religious preference and your child cannot eat certain foods, please give us a list of those foods with suggested alternatives for each food item listed. You will need to work closely with the classroom teachers and the cook on a weekly basis.


Food Brought From Home (5.B.02)

The parent (or legal guardian) shall provide meals upon written agreement between the parent and the staff. Food brought into the facility shall have a label showing the child’s name, the date, and the type of food. Lunches and snacks the parent provides for one child’s eating shall not be shared with other children. When foods are brought to the facility from home or elsewhere, these foods shall, to the extent be reasonable, be limited to whole fruits (like apples, oranges, or pears) and commercially packaged foods.


Nutritional Quality of Food Brought From Home

The facility provides parents with written guidelines that the facility has established to meet the nutritional requirements of the children in the facility’s care and suggested ways parents can assist the facility in meeting these guidelines. The facility shall have food available to supplement a child’s food brought from home if the food brought from home is deficient in meeting the child’s nutrient requirements. If the food the parent provides consistently does not meet the nutritional or food safety requirements, the facility shall provide the food and refer the parent for consultation to a Child Care Nutrition Specialist to the child’s primary health care provider, or to community resources with trained nutritionists. Caregivers will check for food allergies before providing any supplemental food.