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USDA Food Program

Published on August 24, 2017 under Winter

Taking a little break for the day from Conscious Discipline to talk about the food program .  I try to keep you in the loop of everything that we do and today we had an unscheduled visit from our food program.  We are on a program much like the school districts school lunch program.  They come three times a year and usually at different meal service times. This time Debbie Jo arrived as our first group was going in for breakfast.  She pays attention to meal patterns, serving sizes, food safety  and all the paperwork that comes with the program.  She checked all our enrollment forms. We were only missing two ! We take daily attendance and record what we are feeding the kids ..down to whether it is a whole grain or what kind of milk it is.    Let’s play –   ” Did you know … ?”


Did you know that because of the obesity epidemic among children we are required to serve 1% or skim milk ?   I can remember when we were required to serve whole milk.


Did you know that starting in October ( unless Arkansas changes their mind … the federal level has already changed theirs ) that we can no longer serve dessert breads  ? That includes things like graham crackers, cookies, pop tarts , and brownies.


Did you know that staring in October we can only serve juice three times a week ? From

Fruit juice is missing a lot of the stuff that makes whole fruit healthy.

Orange juice, for example, does contain Vitamin C and is a decent source of folate, potassium and Vitamin B1 (2).

It also contains antioxidants, some of which can increase the antioxidant value of the blood (3, 4).

But calorie for calorie (or sugar gram for sugar gram), it is nutritionally poor compared to whole oranges and other plant foods like vegetables (5).

The main problem is this… fruit juice contains no fiber and is very high in sugar.

Take a look at the breakdown for a 12 ounce (350 ml) portion of Coca Cola and apple juice:

  • Coca Cola: 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons).
  • Apple juice: 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar (9.8 teaspoons).

This is the ugly truth about fruit juice… most types contain a similar amount of sugar as a sugar-sweetened beverage, sometimes with even more total calories!

BOTTOM LINE:Fruit juice contains some nutrients, but less compared to many plant foods. It contains no fiber and is just as high in sugar and calories as most sugar-sweetened beverages.

Did you know that we started serving lunch family style this year ?  For family style serving we have the plates and all the food on the table. We put the meal in smaller serving dishes so the children can easily pass the food.   Children are told how much of each food to get.  After they serve themselves we look to make sure they have gotten each food ( they must take some of everything even if they don’t like it. They don’t have to eat it but it must be put on their plate.  )   We also check to make sure they have gotten the correct serving size. In many family homes daycares they use their fingers to ” touch one ” and pick up things like bread or apple slices. Since I am licensed for 16 I also have a health department inspection and they frown  on that so we use tongs and measuring cups.  Measuring cups have small handles that are easier to handle than large spoons.  One of the things we have been doing also is putting healthy leftovers on the table.  Like today we had cucumbers leftover from yesterday . In addition to the meal components we had already planned the cucumbers were placed on the table for anyone that wanted to get some.

Its a lot. We do get a reimbursement check for food for the children so it is totally worth the extra effort. We also receive top notch training specifically for family childcare and networking with folks that do things the way we do in a house !

All in a days work.

Oh… we passed. 🙂  


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