Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.4 Staffing

4.4.0 Use of Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian

A local nutritionist/registered dietitian, knowledgeable of the specific needs of infants and children, should work with the on-site food service expert and the architect or engineer on the design of the parts of the facility involved in food service. Additionally the nutritionist/registered dietitian should work with the food service expert and the early care and education staff to develop and to implement the facility’s nutrition plan and to prepare the initial food service budget. The nutrition plan encompasses:

  1. Kitchen layout;
  2. Food budget and service;
  3. Food procurement and food storage;
  4. Menu and meal planning (including periodic review of menus);
  5. Food preparation and service;
  6. Child feeding practices and policies;
  7. Kitchen and mealtime staffing;
  8. Nutrition education for children, staff and parents/guardians (including the prevention of childhood obesity and other chronic diseases, food learning experiences, and knowledge of choking hazards);
  9. Dietary modification plans.
Efficient and cost-effective food service in a facility begins with a plan and evaluation of the physical components of the facility. Planning for the food service unit includes consideration of location and adequacy of space for receiving, storing, preparing, and serving areas; cleaning up; dish washing; dining areas, plus space for desk, telephone, records, and employee facilities (such as handwashing sinks, toilets, and lockers). All facets must be considered for new or existing sites, including remodeling or renovation of the unit (1-5).
Nutritionists/registered dietitians assist food service staff/caregivers/teachers in planning menus for meals/snacks consisting of healthy foods which meet CACFP guidelines; ensuring use of age-appropriate eating utensils and suitable furniture (tables, chairs) for children to sit comfortably while eating; addressing any dietary modification needed; providing training for staff and nutrition education for children and their parents/guardians; consulting on meeting local health department regulations and meeting local regulations when using an off-site food vendor. This standard is primarily for Centers.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Routine Health Supervision and Growth Monitoring Written Nutrition Plan Assessment and Planning of Nutrition for Individual Children Feeding Plans and Dietary Modifications Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans
Appendix C: Nutrition Specialist, Registered Dietitian, Licensed Nutritionist, Consultant, and Food Service Staff Qualifications
  1. Endres, J. B., R. E. Rockwell. 2003. Food, nutrition, and the young child. 4th ed. New York: Macmillan.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2002. Making nutrition count for children - Nutrition guidance for child care homes. Washington, DC: USDA.
  3. Pipes, P. L., C. M. Trahms, eds. 1997. Nutrition in infancy and childhood. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  4. Benjamin, S. E., K. A. Copeland, A. Cradock, E. Walker, M. M. Slining, B. Neelon, M. W. Gillman. 2009. Menus in child care: A comparison of state regulations to national standards. J Am Diet Assoc 109:109-15.
  5. Kaphingst, K. M., M. Story. 2009. Child care as an untapped setting for obesity prevention: State child care licensing regulations related to nutrition, physical activity, and media use for preschool-aged children in the United States. Prev Chronic Dis 6(1).