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For all new content beginning June 15, 2013, please click here!  We updated the blog and haven't gotten everything in one place yet.  New Posts.

Child Care Professional Blog
By Summer Langille, MA Early Childhood Education Specializing 0-8 years on 5/22/2013 12:28 PM

I’ve always found it a fun and lovely spring activity to grow grass and beans in my classroom. It's very easy, inexpensive, and introduces the children to the wonders and science of growing plants.

You’ll need:

grass seed

beans (I just buy a bag of mixed dried beans at the grocery store)

flax seed

wild flower seeds

and other seed you would like to try.

milk cartons

egg cartons

plastic (rinsed out) containers like cream cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese etc.

potting soil

Prep the milk cartons by cutting the top off of them and poking a few holes in the bottom for water drainage. You need drainage holes for any type of container you decide to use. (You can...
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 5/7/2013 9:31 AM
Jodi from Massachusetts is our ChildCareInfo.com Star!  She is the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Claims Director at Child Development Health and Nutrition.  Find out why Jodi thinks her agency does good work and her invaluable role in getting children healthy meals.  It's a role that one might not always think about but imperative to the CACFP success.

By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 3/7/2013 3:09 PM
As the leaders of the Child and Adult Care Food Program met this week, there were two common themes while we discussed CACFP’s Roadmap to a Healthy Future. 

ChangeThere is impending change, which can sometimes be synonymous with impending doom.  Not knowing can be the worst part. There is impending change, which can sometimes be synonymous with impending doom.  The CACFP community is waiting to hear about the proposed rule for the meal pattern requirements.  When is it coming? What will it contain?  

This change has been talked about since the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report aligning the CACFP...
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 3/7/2013 9:58 AM
I arrived home from the Anti-Hunger Policy Conference yesterday and I am still reeling from all of the people I have met and projects/programs I learned about.   I still feel completely wrapped in their passion about food.  When I say passion about food, I don’t mean it like my foodie friends checking out the latest restaurants in LA.  When I say passion about food I mean...
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 3/6/2013 5:18 PM
Sharing my notes with those of you who were not able to make it to the CACFP Leadership Conference.  It also includes a few notes from the main plenary sessions of the overall Anti-Hunger Leadership Conference.
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 3/2/2013 7:14 PM
I was just at the casual pre-conference reception for the National Anti-Hunger Food Policy Conference and already appreciate the people passionate about keeping our children (and their parents) fed.  Not only do they make sure our nation is fed but they make sure nutrition is a key component of food provided through so many different federal, state, and grant funded programs.  There are a couple of highlights I want to share with you tonight.  Stay tuned for the next 2 days for more that we learn while being here at the Capitol Hilton among people who care so much about our nation as we face hunger and obesity problems. 
By CACFP Community on 1/23/2013 2:09 PM
The Child Care Food Program Roundtable has unique group meetings every 2 months.  Why are they unique, you ask?  Aside from the attendees being super friendly and passionate about the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), they are made up of not only CACFP Sponsors in California but State representatives and additional food program stakeholders.  This knowledgeable group of people gathers around the proverbial table and talk child nutrition, policy, grants, and accomplishments.
By CACFP Community on 1/10/2013 2:52 PM
Two exciting announcements!  USDA releases a Handbook that was developed with

Health and Human Services to assist child care providers in creating healthier environments for children in their care.  Even better than that, Food Action and Research Center is hosting a webinar with USDA to go over the handbook!  Find out more here.
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 1/7/2013 2:23 PM
Find out why the Con Agra Foods Foundation Community Impact Grants Program is perfect for Child and Adult Care
Food Program Sponsors.  

If you could use $35,000 to grow your program participation or create and disseminate nutrition education materials, you need to read this.
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 12/5/2012 3:00 PM
Find out how your donation to feed the hungry can go further now as Feeding America and Bank of America partner up.  Also, find out a little bit about what I've learned about the food insecure in America.
By CACFP Community on 11/6/2012 12:01 PM

ChildCareInfo.com gave away a $100.00 gift card for Williams-Sonoma to Samya from Angels Child Care Food Program!  Find out how Samya helps the Child and Adult Care Food Program and what her favorite meal is.  Congratulate Samya with me and learn a little bit more about who makes up the Food Program Community.
By CACFP Community on 11/6/2012 11:22 AM
Participants at the Child Care Food Program Roundtable received this book: So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips & Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years.  Find out more about what the book has to offer. 

Written by: Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A.
By CACFP Community on 10/24/2012 5:12 PM
Reflections, Part 1. Inspired by the industrious, full-of-heart, and committed Child and Adult Care Food Program community. The first of a series of posts about the food program and thoughts about different ways we might get the program, its participants, administrators and advocates some recognition.

Written by: Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A.

By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 10/5/2012 12:07 PM

ChildCareInfo.com gave away a $100.00 gift card for Ruth's Chris to Mike from Child Nutrition Services!  Find out how Mike helps the Child and Adult Care Food Program and what his favorite sports team is.  Congratulate Mike with me!
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 6/26/2012 7:22 AM
After a study in California it has been found that “Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program is Associated with More Nutritious Foods and Beverages in Child Care.”  Did you know that 19.6 million children under the age of 5 participate in early childhood programs in which they “receive a considerable amount of their daily nutrition.” (Ritchie et al., 224).  This study shows the association of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participation with more nutritious meals, snacks and beverages served.  CACFP participation is a step in the right direction!

A bit about the study...
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 6/4/2012 2:25 PM
Take action before the end of the week, June 8th!  Make sure you and the CACFP don't lose money.
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 5/3/2012 10:25 AM

Let’s play a quick game.  I say “CACFP Federal Regulations” and then you think “____________.”  Did that blank space involve an eye-roll and maybe even a “#&$%?”  I think if you participate in the food program at some point the mere mention of “regulations” will bring about a flurry of a heartbeat and a negative thought.   I have a question for you though, did you know that you have a say in those final rules that you ultimately have to follow?  Well, you do!  Once a rule/regulation has been proposed there is a period of time in which public comment is encouraged and accepted

By Jill Latham, MS Nutrition, Food Science and Dietetics on 2/20/2012 6:28 PM
I recently had the opportunity to attend a “Nutrition and Autism” seminar (what a hot topic in both communities!) presented by a Registered Dietitian and found that there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about the cause and effect of Autism related to Nutrition.  It was amazing how much of the disease state is based around managing and trying to placate Gastrointestinal issues, sensory perception with food, rigidity at meal time, and providing a safe and comforting environment for the child to eat a healthy diet.  Whether you are a parent of an autistic child or have an autistic child in your child care setting, it is incredibly important to be dialed into their nutrition needs.  GI issues dont tend to be part of the diagnosis but they are very common.  Many children are unable to verbalize the pain they feel in their stomach and these issues can present as nutritional deficiencies, constipation, unexplained allergies, abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, anxiety and social withdrawal.  While the...
By Jill Latham, MS Nutrition, Food Science and Dietetics on 10/5/2011 5:43 AM
I came across this awesome video challenge on the USDA's MyPlate website and wanted to get the entire Child Care Info community participating! Here is the challenge: Create short videos (about 30 seconds) demonstrating how you are adding fruits and veggies to your diet without breaking the bank.  Get really creative...the judges are looking for videos that are inspiring, educational, fun, easy, and cost-effective ways that will motivate others to add more fruits and veggies to their diet too.   There are three categories to choose from: Tips for kids Tips for eating at home Tips for eating away from home The goal of this challenge is to bring more awareness to USDA's MyPlate and their mission to help Americans understand the importance of making half their plate abundant in healthy fruits and vegetables. Timeline: Submit your videos: September 26, 2011 - November 15, 2011 Judging: November 21, 2011 - December 12, 2011...
By Jill Latham, MS Nutrition, Food Science and Dietetics on 9/19/2011 9:07 PM
Have you been confused about whether or not to spend the extra cash on organic products?  What about the information you have been hearing that purchasing organic products can help protect you from consuming highly toxic pesticides?  This is something that I get asked quite frequently and wanted to share my thoughts and what being "organic" really means.  

Click on the link and take a read.  I think it will help clear up some misconceptions.

By Jill Latham, MS Nutrition, Food Science and Dietetics on 9/2/2011 4:56 PM
Every week it’s seems to be the same old dilemma.  Like an unexpected curve ball being thrown at you every night (even though we all know that’s not the case).  What should I make for dinner?  And besides that, you dream of having it be a healthy, nutrient dense meal that everyone in the family will love.  Sometimes this seems to be an insurmountable task. 

So let’s make it simple and break it down into smaller pieces so the whole puzzle doesn’t seem so overwhelming.  Oh yeah…we will also make sure it’s healthy AND tasty!

1.     WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NIGHT?  First things first…what is your favorite night of the week to get settled and plan for the week ahead?  Most people will say Sunday night, which seems the most logical.  The family is settling down from the high-energy weekend and getting ready for the work and school week ahead.  But maybe Friday is your night.  Whatever night it is, use this time to plan your family’s meals for the week ahead.  Browse through your cookbooks, magazines, the Internet, or wherever you gather recipes and begin to feel inspired!

By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 11/16/2010 2:53 PM
The Food Action and Research Center (FRAC) is  the "leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and under nutrition in the United States."  FRAC is promoting a many ways to contact your legislation including a creative one you can do with the kids, called the Paper Plate campaign.
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 11/1/2010 1:57 PM
A short synopsis of the Grab and Go lesson provided by CARE Connection about the CACFP Meal Patterns
By Samantha Daleiden Marshall, M.A. on 9/27/2010 9:40 AM
These CARE Connection lessons, created by the National Food Service Management Institute, are quickie tutorials to give some easy takeaway information regarding child nutrition.  One of these is about Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition and how to vary them with the children in your care.  My favorite part of it is the idea to serve different colors at different meals during the day.  This enables you to serve the variety of Vitamin A and C via vegetables and fruit while keeping it interesting for the children!  Some examples are: Yellow:  Bananas, Apples and Fruit Cocktail Orange: Apricots, Cantaloupe, and Carrots Red: Apples and Pink Grapefruit White: Applesauce, Jicama and Onions Blue/Purple:  Blueberries and Dried Cranberries Green: Apples, Brocoli, Celery You can find the chart and the rest of the lesson which gives a thorough breakdown of what kinds of Vegetables and Fruits contain Vitamin A or Vitamin C Here or on...
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