Whole grains, low fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables have long been recommended for preschoolers. Those recommendations could become a mandate over the next year. Organizations, like Head Start, that participate in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program are already preparing. Cindy Willmarth led a training session at Eastern Kentucky University.
“We do hear that, if not this year, next year there will be a new meal pattern coming out that instead of best practice that will become a requirement. Just like the schools have had to change this year, we will too,” said Willmart.
Typically, the types of foods mandated by the federal program have not changed much year to year. But individual needs must also be satisfied. For example, Willmarth says food allergies must be considered.
“We have parents that want different diets for their children. There’s a lot of allergies that we’re confronted with now. So, we help those organizations. We give them technical assistance on how they can help still meet meal pattern requirements while listening and attending to the needs and wants of the parents,” added Willmarth.
Other trainings are set this month in Bowling Green and Louisville.