Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 9: Administration

9.2 Policies

9.2.3 Health Policies Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/21/2019.

Early care and education programs should have food handling, feeding, and written nutrition policies and plans under the direction of the administration that address the following items:

  1. Age-appropriate eating utensils and tableware
  2. Age-appropriate portion sizes to meet nutritional needs
  3. Emergency preparedness for water and nutrition services
  4. Food allergies and special dietary restrictions, including family/cultural food preferences
  5. Food brought from home, including food brought for celebrations
  6. Food budget
  7. Food safety, sanitation, preparation, and service
  8. Food procurement and storage
  9. Kitchen and meal service staffing
  10. Kitchen layout
  11. Menu and meal planning
  12. Nutrition education for children, staff, and parents/guardians
  13. Promotion of breastfeeding and provision of community resources to support mothers

A nutritionist/registered dietitian and a food service expert should provide input for and facilitate the development and implementation of a written nutrition plan for the early care and education program.1


Children spend a significant amount of time in out-of-home care; this requires 1 or 2 meals to be served during the day.2 Having a plan that clearly assigns responsibility and that encompasses the pertinent nutrition elements will promote the optimal health of all children and staff in early care and education settings. Centers following safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage safeguard against foodborne illness.3

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Written Nutrition Plan Written Menus and Introduction of New Foods General Plan for Feeding Infants Responsive Feeding of Infants by a Consistent Caregiver/Teacher Preparing, Feeding, and Storing Human Milk Serving Size for Toddlers and Preschoolers Use of Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian Selection and Preparation of Food Brought From Home Nutritional Quality of Food Brought From Home Nutrition Learning Experiences for Children Nutrition Education for Parents/Guardians Supply of Food and Water for Disasters Emergency Safe Drinking Water and Bottled Water
Appendix JJ: Our Child Care Center Supports Breastfeeding
Appendix C: Nutrition Specialist, Registered Dietitian, Licensed Nutritionist, Consultant, and Food Service Staff Qualifications
  1. School Nutrition Association. School nutrition professionals: roles & responsibilities. Accessed December 20, 2018

  2. Swindle T, Sigman-Grant M, Branen LJ, Fletcher J, Johnson SL. About feeding children: factor structure and internal reliability of a survey to assess mealtime strategies and beliefs of early childhood education teachers. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2018;15(1):85

  3. US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. Basics for handling food safely. Modified March 24, 2015. Accessed December 20, 2018


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/21/2019.