Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.6 Food Brought From Home

4.6.0 Nutritional Quality of Food Brought From Home

The facility should provide parents/guardians with written guidelines that the facility has established a comprehensive plan to meet the nutritional requirements of the children in the facility’s care and suggested ways parents/guardians can assist the facility in meeting these guidelines. The facility should develop policies for foods brought from home, with parent/guardian consultation, so that expectations are the same for all families (1,2). The facility should have food available to supplement a child’s food brought from home if the food brought from home is deficient in meeting the child’s nutrient requirements. If the food the parent/guardian provides consistently does not meet the nutritional or food safety requirements, the facility should provide the food and refer the parent/guardian for consultation to a nutritionist/registered dietitian, to the child’s primary care provider, or to community resources with trained nutritionists/registered dietitians (such as The Women, Infants and Children [WIC] Supplemental Food Program, extension services, and health departments).
The caregiver/teacher/facility has a responsibility to follow feeding practices that promote optimum nutrition supporting growth and development in infants, toddlers, and children. Caregivers/teachers who fail to follow best feeding practices, even when parents/guardians wish such counter practices to be followed, negate their basic responsibility of protecting a child’s health, social, and emotional well-being.
Some local health and/or licensing jurisdictions prohibit any foods being brought from home.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Written Nutrition Plan Selection and Preparation of Food Brought From Home Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans
  1. Sweitzer, S., M. E. Briley, C. Robert-Gray. 2009. Do sack lunches provided by parents meet the nutritional needs of young children who attend child care? J Am Diet Assn 109:141-44.
  2. Contra Costa Child Care Council, Child Health and Nutrition Program. 2006. CHOICE: Creating healthy opportunities in child care environments. Concord, CA: Contra Costa Child Care Council, Child Health and Nutrition Program.