The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) supports food service in child-care centers that serve lower-income families and regulated the quality and quantity of food served in participating centers. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional quality of lunches served in 38 CACFP-participating preschools in Connecticut and examine how current practices compare to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendations to improve CACFP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015 proposed rule. Researchers assessed preschoolers’ food intake through visual estimates of amount of food served and amount left after the meal, and nutrition of meals through visits with food preparation staff and analysis of serving sizes. Results indicate that centers generally comply with CACFP regulations, but do not meet the standards proposed by the IOM for produce consumption, saturated fat, protein, fiber, and sodium. The investigators found that compared with CACFP-recommended portion sizes, servings of meat and grain were high while milk was low. Compared with IOM recommendations, saturated fat, protein, and sodium intake were high and dietary fiber was low. While all centers offered all required lunch components, not every component was always served to each child.
Comparing Current Practice to Recommendations for the Child and Adult Care Food Program
Informing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forthcoming Regulations on Dietary Guidelines for Preschoolers
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in the process of writing new regulations for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in response to the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Regulations are expected to draw heavily upon recommendations made in the Institute of … More
CSPI developed a case study that provides insights into policy strategy and advocacy best practices that resulted in passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The case study outlines key lessons to help inform nutrition and public health policy initiatives, as well as continued implementation and defense of … More
Evaluation of the USDA FINI Program Finds Benefits for Consumers, Farmers and Retailers, and Local Economies
In December 2018, Congress passed a new farm bill which included a reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. This brief summarizes the findings of a recent qualitative evaluation of FINI, which concludes that the program has benefits for consumers, farmers and … More