Nutrition Information for Parents

What does the Child & Adult Food Program (CACFP) mean to a parent? 

The child care program you choose for your child may be a CACFP participant. CACFP is a federally funded program administered by the NYS Department of Health and sponsored by Council. 


What does it mean when a child care program is a CACFP participant?

If the program your child is enrolled in participates in CACFP, it means that your child is being served healthy meals and snacks, according to the guidelines of the United States Department of Agriculture. Licensed Group Family child care providers, registered Family child care providers, and Legally Exempt providers may participate in CACFP through Council. Centers may also participate, but are administered directly by the NYS Department of Health, rather than through Council. 


Meals and snacks are monitored by a CACFP Field Representative through paperwork submitted by the provider and by on-site program visits. The provider receives partial reimbursement for the nutrias meals and snacks that they serve to the children.


Your child care provider may ask you to complete certain forms required by CACFP. All information pertaining to your child is kept confidential by Council. 


What are the nutritional requirements for menus at a program participating in CACFP?

These are the required components for every meal and snack served. Remember to discuss your child's specific nutritional needs with your caregiver.


Breakfast  Lunch or Supper Snacks (2 of the 4 groups)


Fruit or vegetable

Grains or Bread


Meat or meat alternative

Grains or bread

2 different servings of fruits or vegetables


Meat or meat alternative

Grains or bread

Fruit or vegetable


What are the benefits to my child?

CACFP is one of the key building blocks for good nutrition and quality child care. The program helps providers plan healthy meals and healthy eating, and exposes your children to a variety of foods. Working together, you and your caregiver can help your child establish healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. As a parent, you are the most important teacher your child will ever have. By practicing good health habits, you can give your child a head start on a healthy lifestyle.


What can parents do to encourage children to "Eat Well, Play Hard"?

The NYS Department of Health launched a campaign to encourage children to "Eat Well, Play Hard". The goal is to prevent childhood obesity and reduce long-term risks for chronic disease. For more information, please visit the "Eat Well, Play Hard" campaign through the NYS DOH website or call ext.40 to speak directly with Phyllis Trigg, our "Eat Well Play Hard" nutritionist. 


CACFP is concerned because:

  • One in five children in New York is overweight.
  • If children are overweight through their teens, they are likely to be overweight as adults.
  • Overweight adults are at a higher risk for diabetes and heart disease.


"Eat Well, Play Hard" encourages children to:

  • Increase physical activity (appropriate for their age) by turning off the TV and being physically active with other children
  • Increase low-fat and fat-free dairy foods (for children over the age of two) by offering low fat 1% milk, selecting reduced fat or part-skim cheeses, and using low fat dairy foods in cooking.
  • Increase the number of vegetables and fruits served. Choose vegetables or fruits for snacks, offer a variety of vegetables and fruits, and provide fresh vegetables and fruits often. 


Please consult your pediatrician to best meet the nutritional needs for your children. 


Visit for additional nutritional information.