Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program that provides meal reimbursement to child care centers, adult day care centers, emergency shelters, before and afterschool programs, and child development homes. The objectives of CACFP are to:
- Provide a subsidy to eligible child and adult care institutions for serving nutritious meals
- Serve nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults in care
- Foster lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits
This Program serves:
- Children age 0 through 12 years in child care centers.
- Children through age 18 in At Risk afterschool programs and emergency shelters.
- Children of migrant workers, through age 15.
- Functionally impaired disabled persons receiving care in a center or home where most children are 18 years old and younger, an in emergency shelters serving children.
- Adults age 60 or older or impaired adults of any age in non-residential day care settings.
The funds provided for this Program are from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Program is administered in Iowa through the Bureau of Nutrition and Health in the Department of Education.
Updated CACFP Patterns
Resources to Support Meal Pattern Implementation
- CACFP New Meal Pattern Menu with Best Practices - 4-week cycle menu for CACFP that follows the updated meal pattern and best practices.
- CACFP Best Practices Checklist - tool to help identify areas for improvement in implementing the CACFP meal pattern best practices.
- Handy Guide to Creditable Food – This guide is for use by center-based programs to identify foods that can be used to meet meal pattern requirements. It was developed using USDA’s Crediting Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Resources for Participants
- Steps to CACFP Success Online Workshop
- CACFP Wellness Modules: Farm to CACFP, Meaningful Mealtimes, Trying New Foods, Opportunities for Active Play, Nutrition Education, Smarter Mealtime Scorecard, CACFP Meal Pattern Best Practices, and Healthy Menu Makeover.
Smarter Mealtime Scorecard - an assessment tool to help improve menu planning, parent communication and involvement, mealtime experience, mealtime environment, and provider involvement and support practices.
Move for Thought Pre K & K - integrates physical activity, books and music in the preschool classroom. The activities focus on book reading, as well as on practicing self-control and self-regulations through fun activities and games The kit was developed by Spyridoula Vazou, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, at Iowa State University, funded through Team Nutrition.
Physical Activity Card Sets - provide hands on suggestions to help childcare providers implement the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and integrate physical activity in the child care setting. The resources were developed to make it easy to include health-enhancing components in childcare.
Flavor Shakers - CACFP - Chef Deanna Olson created the low-sodium herb/seasoning mixtures to be utilized in childcare and schools to decrease sodium consumption. They can be mixed together in a shaker to season food.