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Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition
I am a childcare provider, and I am having trouble locating healthy food for children in my care. What should I do?
If you are having difficulty locating food items, start by substituting items on your menu for healthy alternatives. For example:
- Fruits and vegetables. Look for frozen and canned options for items, including canned or jarred applesauce, pears, peaches, pineapple. Frozen berries and frozen fruit are also good options. Remember, too, you can sub out a second different vegetable at lunch and supper, so you could utilize canned and frozen vegetables and serve fruit less often
- Grains. Consider using pasta, rice, macaroni, oatmeal, cereal (in the sugar limit). Wraps, buns, English muffins, bread sticks, crackers, and plain graham crackers may be used too. Whole grain is served once a day. Crackers are a good option. Look for store brand versions versus name brand
- Meat. Consider frozen options including frozen fish, frozen chicken strips, and beef patties. For tacos, consider using vegetarian refried beans, black beans, kidney beans with cheese
In addition, family/group home providers can get healthy meals and snacks free of charge by visiting a Meet Up and Eat Up site in their community. All school districts and some community-based organizations are offering drive through meal pick up now through summer 2020.
You can find a site near you by visiting your local school district’s website, texting ‘food’ to 877-877, or visiting mcgi.state.mi.us/schoolnutrition. Once you’ve located a site, visit the food distribution site during their operating hours, report how many children you serve, and they will provide meals. No additional documentation is necessary. Food is suitable for children who eat solid food. Formula and food for infants is generally not available.
Reminder: If you are a CACFP provider, you may not charge CACFP for meals you did not purchase.
My families are struggling with food access. What programs are available to them?
All children under 18 years of age, regardless of income, are eligible to pick up meals provided by their local school district. The Michigan Department of Education maintains a map of open sites. The map includes addresses for available sites and when they are open for food service.
Families can also apply for food assistance (including SNAP and WIC) on MiBridges.
There is limited access to some food in my community. Is CACFP offering any guidance on what to do about limited supplies of milk, bread, and other nutritious food?
Guidance from the Michigan Department of Education explains that meals served are required to have all required components that meet the meal pattern requirements. Nutrition is key to maintaining health and wellness, especially during a public health crisis. Can you substitute another item from the same group? For instance, if you cannot find whole wheat bread, substitute a tortilla, a wrap, crackers, rice or pasta. Fresh, frozen, and canned foods can also be used. If you cannot obtain a required component, meals served without a required component must be approved by the CACFP. Please contact Melissa Lonsberry.
What guidance has been issued by the Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP)?
The Michigan Department of Education has issued guidance about feeding children in child nutrition programs during the state of emergency.