There are 3 days left to comment (ends on April 15) on the Revised CACFP Meal Pattern Proposed Rule. You need to make sure USDA hears it from the providers' perspective. There are thousands of comments. Many of them are from people and organizations that don't understand how the food program works and the impact some suggested changes would have on you, your program, and your budgets.
I think we can all agree that child health and nutrition is a priority for you. If it weren't, you wouldn't be in the business you are. You need to comment. Do it now. Then share with everyone you know!
Go to this link: http://bit.ly/addurname. Personalize it or just add your name and submit.
Example of Personalized Comments
Provider in Kansas
Require that at least one grain serving per day, across all eating occasions, be whole grain or whole grain-rich."
I agree with serving more whole grains but I don't have access to enough whole grain options through my local grocery store to continue offering the great variety of grains that I currently do if this passes. I offer whole grain options when available but it doesn't always work out to once a day. I refuse to offer a slice of bread just because I need to meet a requirement when another grain would complement our meal better.
There are times when I go to do my grocery shopping and my store's truck hasn't shown to stock the shelves making it hard enough to get the ingredients I need for the next day or week.
I regularly serve fresh fruits and vegetables for almost all of my meals. Many times lunch even includes an extra fruit or vegetable because I know it will be eaten.
When deciding on the final revision I just hope that you consider what some of us small town providers have access to shopping locally.
Anonymous Family Child Care Provider
I am a family daycare provider and feel most of the changes you are proposing are beneficial. However, burdening us with more paperwork or making meal reporting more complex will not help us but hinder us. More paperwork takes time away from our job as a child care provider or adds to our "after work" burden. I understand the importance of good nutrition but urge USDA to allow flexibility and to avoid complexity and cost and the loss of providers to care for children. There are many providers that will choose to stop providing care because of additional paperwork or complex recording.
With that being said, I feel it is good to eliminate the fruit juice from infants meals and adding more grain options. Also allowing a meat option for children one yr and older at breakfast in lieu of a grain is wonderful. i feel the meal patterns are too full of grains/carbohydrates. A protein in the morning provides fuel and energy for growing bodies. Also disallowing flavored milks is also good. Sugar is a BIG problem in most children's diets and if they are used to drinking plain white milk from the beginning, they will be less likely to want it later. And i also feel limiting sugar content for yogurt is also very wise. Good nutrition and eating habits need to start at a very young age and we as caregivers are foremost in those habits for children and their families.
Additional Model Letters focused on the Child Care Professional
- National Association for Family Child Care
- National Association for the Education of the Young Child
- Child Care Aware Advocate Letter