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Adequate nutrition during early childhood is essential for proper growth, development and learning. For many low-income and food insecure families, this may be hard to achieve. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal nutrition program that provides funding for a variety of healthy foods provided by programs serving these communities. CACFP is overseen by the USDA, and offers cash reimbursements to qualifying programs such as Early Learn, Head Start, child care, after-school, and senior centers. In addition to the adoption of healthy and balanced meals, programs receiving CACFP funding establish positive meal-time environments through family style dining, where the development of healthy behaviors are supported through shared meals and role modeling.

Together, these practices have shown to reduce the likelihood of a child being overweight or obese by increasing children’s intake of dairy, fruits, and vegetables and decreasing their consumption of sweetened beverages and other high-fat and high-sugar foods.

We are a National Industry Partner of the National CACFP Association (NCA). Our Registered Dietitian-Nutritionists provide their expertise to promote CACFP goals, using evidence-based practices to carry out its mission. We work with programs to create nutritious menus, working closely with kitchen staff to create healthy dishes using local, seasonal and culturally diverse foods. In addition, we guide program implementation of family-style dining practices, to ensure that an environment exists that supports the development of healthy eating behaviors.

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