Nutrition in Child Care
Nutrition in child care provides a variety of resources to support early care and education professionals and families with information about healthy eating, active living, child development and child health.
Foods, beverages, mealtime and physical environment all influence a child's health while they are cared for away from their home. The child care setting is the perfect place to expose children to healthy meals, activities and choices.
Child Health Resources for Early Care and Education Providers
Healthy Eating Resources
- MyPlate fruit (PDF) ideas (Spanish (PDF))
- MyPlate vegetables (PDF) ideas (Spanish (PDF))
- MyPlate whole grain (PDF) ideas (Spanish (PDF))
- List of cereals (PDF) that contain whole grains and are also low in sugar.
- Lunch ideas for parents who bring food from home: A Month of Lunch Ideas (PDF)
- Snack ideas for rotation at child care: A Month of Snack Ideas (PDF)
- Colorado's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- Hidden Sugar resources through the Healthy Beverage Partnership
Healthy Celebrations in Early Care and Education
Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Messages
Nutrition Activities Links to fun, researched based nutrition lesson plans (PDF).
Tri-County Health Department Training Sessions
Through training sessions with community partners, registered dietitians communicate information related to health and nutrition topics. Training sessions (PDF) may include subjects such as:
- Meal planning
- Label reading
- Sweetened beverages
- Whole grains
- Child Care program activities
- Role modeling
- Mealtime environment
- Regulations in place to support healthy child care practices
Self-Assessment in Child Care and Sample Policy Documents
The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) in Child Care: Self-Assessment (PDF) allows you to reflect on your current practices and determine your areas of strength and growth. Once your healthy practices are identified, you may find that having a local, written policy is a helpful way to communicate these practices with parents and staff. Sample and model policy documents can help support you as you consider what language to use with your communications. Ideas for written policy statements are listed here:
- Healthy Eating and Active Living in Early Care and Education Settings, Sample Policy (PDF)
- Sample Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care Policy (PDF), from Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) Breastfeeding in Child Care Toolkit
- Communicating about Healthy Celebrations (PDF)
Infant Feeding and Breastfeeding Resources
- Colorado's Breastfeeding in Child Care Toolkit and more
- University of Northern Colorado Infant Feeding Information and Best Practices for Child Care facilities.
Active Living Resources
Online Instructional Video for Child Care Professionals
- The Colorado Office of Early Childhood's Professional Development Information System (PDIS) web page offers free and easy access to courses including health promotion topics such as Supporting Breastfeeding in Child Care and a Wellness Champion Webinar.
- Feeding Young Children in Group Settings is an educational program designed for child care professionals, educators, food service workers, and anyone who trains staff or parents on issues related to feeding. The web site includes video vignettes and educational activities.
- Penn State Extension Better Kid Care offers professional development opportunities for early care and education professionals. Many titles are offered including serving healthy food, limiting screen time and increasing physical activity.