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The Harvard School of Public Health released the following article regarding the importance of early childcare nutrition.  At The Kid’s Corral, we place a high priority on providing children with nutritious snacks and meals that are consistent with the recommendations set forth by the USDA.

Early Child Care Nutrition

Child care providers can encourage healthy eating habits in young children by providing a variety of nutritious foods, limiting junk food and sugary drinks, and encouraging parents to do the same at home.

Here is a summary of early childhood nutrition recommendations for obesity prevention, based on a review of expert guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, the Institute of Medicine, and others. Though these recommendations are designed for early child care providers, parents can also adopt these nutrition guidelines at home.

Serve age-appropriate and healthy beverages

·         Offer safe drinking water regularly and in place of fruit drinks, soda, or other sweetened beverages

·         Ensure that children ages 1 to 6 are limited to 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day, including at home

·         Serve 100 percent juice with no added sweeteners in cups, and only at mealtimes

·         Offer either skim or 1 percent pasteurized milk to all children over 2 years of age, or whole

pasteurized milk for children ages 1 to 2

Provide a varied and balanced diet that emphasizes minimally processed foods

·         Offer a mix of different colored vegetables each day, especially dark green and red and orange vegetables

·         Serve a variety of whole fruits, rather than juice

·         Ensure all breads, cereals, and pastas served are whole grain

·         Choose heart-healthy lean protein such as beans, chicken, legumes, and low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese

·         Opt for foods that contain healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats like olive or safflower oil

instead of foods high in trans or saturated fats, such as packaged snack foods, foods fried or prepared

with partially hydrogenated oil, butter, and red meat

Encourage healthy growth in children by keeping high-calorie, low-nutrient foods out of child care

·         Avoid foods high in trans fats and/or saturated fats

·         Avoid salty, low-nutrient foods like chips or pretzels

·         Avoid high-sugar foods such as flavored milk, fruit nectars, soda, or candy

Encourage family involvement in healthy eating at the child care facility

·         Provide written nutrition guidelines and posted menus for parents

·         Ensure food brought from home meets written standards

·         Engage in conversations about healthy eating, including taking menu suggestions from parents

consistent with healthy guidelines



Harvard School of Public Medicine. Early Child Care Nutrition (Blog Post). Retrieved from:

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