Feeding Environment

General Resources

CARE Connection: Happy Mealtimes

National Food Service Management Institute.

A variety of resources for child care centers and family day care homes participating in the CACFP that focus on offering healthful meals served in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere. Materials include grab and go lessons, sample letters to parents, children's activities, and videos. From the CARE Connection curriculum series.

Setting the Stage for Eating Well: The Nutrition Environment (PDF | 1.28 MB)

State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services; Missouri Team Nutrition.

Presentation introduces preschool teachers and food service staff to the benefits of family-style meals.

Child Care Mealtime Assessment (PDF | 92.0 KB)

Minnesota Department of Health.

The Child Care Mealtime Assessment is a tool for evaluating the meal environment in a child care center. To complete the assessment, centers examine the serving and dining spaces where children eat meals and indicate whether each statement is true by checking the corresponding box. Unchecked boxes are areas to consider for future implementation to improve the meal environment.

Water and 100% Juice Tip Sheet

National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.

Water and Juice Dos and Don’ts with lots of helpful tips.

Let's Move! Child Care (LMCC) Training Modules

Penn State Extension - Better Kid Care.

These free online training modules provide practical strategies for implementing best practices in early care and education (ECE) settings for promoting healthy weight in young children. The modules are also an opportunity for ECE providers to obtain CEUs from Penn State and professional development credits from many states’ licensing and/or quality improvement systems. The training series includes six lessons that cover background information for childhood obesity prevention and the five best practice goals: increase physical activity, limit screen time, offer healthy beverages, serve healthy food and support infant feeding.

Healthy Bites: A Wisconsin Guide for Improving Childhood Nutrition

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

An extensive guide to improving nutrition in the child care environment which includes a program assessment, guide for a quality improvement plan and policies development as well as a guide to take action with implementation. It also contains nutrition education sections to strengthen the CACFP meal pattern and decrease childhood obesity. Also available in Spanish (PDF | 20.29 MB).

Research in CACFP

These journal articles describe possible benefits of CACFP and healthy role modeling by teachers, parents, and caregivers in supporting a positive feeding environment.

Cooking with Kids

These resources outline the benefits of cooking with children, as well as practical guidelines and tips for getting started, including examples of tasks that are appropriate for children at various age groups.

Adults as Role Models

This tip sheet explain the importance of role modeling by parents and other adults in supporting healthy eating in children.