Benchmarks for Nutrition in Child Care

Volume 111, Issue 4, Pages 607-615 (April 2011)


It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that child-care programs should achieve recommended benchmarks for meeting children's nutrition needs in a safe, sanitary, and supportive environment that promotes optimal growth and development. Use of child care has become increasingly common and is now the norm for the majority of families in the United States. Therefore, it is essential that registered dietitians; dietetic technicians, registered; and other food and nutrition practitioners work in partnership with child-care providers and families of children in child care to meet children's nutrition needs and provide them with models of healthful eating and active lifestyles. This Position Paper provides guidance for food and nutrition practitioners, health professionals, and child-care providers regarding recommendations for nutritional quality of foods and beverages served; menus, meal patterns, and portion sizes; food preparation and service; physical and social environment; nutrition training; nutrition consultation; physical activity and active play; and working with families. This Position Paper targets children aged 2 to 5 years attending child-care programs and highlights opportunities for food and nutrition practitioners to promote healthful eating in child care through both intervention and policy-based initiatives.