We were excited to find this article in the Washington Post detailing a step in the right direction for federally funded meal programs in adult and child day cares working toward healthier kitchens. The USDA has proposed changes to nutritional requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, including eliminating reimbursements for grain-based desserts like cookies and cake, and no longer offering juice to children under 1 year of age. Nationwide, this program serves nearly 4 million people per year, so it is crucial that this system incentivizes day cares to provide healthy, wholesome food. According to one expert, "food choices people make in early childhood are the building blocks for the healthy habits of their lifetime,” which is why we have chosen to partner with school districts in our region convert to healthy scratch cooking as part of our obesity prevention work.
The USDA was also attentive to the need for these changes to be financially sustainable, proposing "requirements that wouldn't boost costs since providers won't be paid more." Sustainability is also a lynchpin of our work -- in fact, Cheney School District, our first obesity prevention partner, was able to achieve net positive financial results within the first two years of the scratch cooking program, making this a truly sustainable systems change!
You can download the entire Washington Post article here: