Caring for Our Childen, 3rd Edition (CFOC3)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.6 Food Brought From Home

4.6.0

4.6.0.1: Selection and Preparation of Food Brought From Home


The parent/guardian may provide meals for the child upon written agreement between the parent/guardian and the staff. Food brought into the facility should have a clear label showing the child’s full name, the date, and the type of food. Lunches and snacks the parent/guardian provides for one individual child’s meals should not be shared with other children. When foods are brought to the facility from home or elsewhere, these foods should be limited to those listed in the facility’s written policy on nutritional quality of food brought from home. Potentially hazardous and perishable foods should be refrigerated and all foods should be protected against contamination.
RATIONALE
Food borne illness and poisoning from food is a common occurrence when food has not been properly refrigerated and covered. Although many such illnesses are limited to vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes they are life-threatening. Restricting food sent to the facility to be consumed by the individual child reduces the risk of food poisoning from unknown procedures used in home preparation, storage, and transport. Food brought from home should be nourishing, clean, and safe for an individual child. In this way, other children should not be exposed to unknown risk. Inadvertent sharing of food is a common occurrence in early care and education. The facility has an obligation to ensure that any food offered to children at the facility or shared with other children is wholesome and safe as well as complying with the food and nutrition guidelines for meals and snacks that the early care and education program should observe.
COMMENTS
The facility, in collaboration with parents/guardians and the food service staff/nutritionist/registered dietitian, should establish a policy on foods brought from home for celebrating a child’s birthday or any similar festive occasion. Programs should inform parents/guardians about healthy food alternatives like fresh fruit cups or fruit salad for such celebrations. Sweetened treats are highly discouraged, but if provided by the parent/guardian, then the portion size of the treat served should be small.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
4.6.0.2 Nutritional Quality of Food Brought From Home
9.2.3.11 Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans

4.6.0.2: 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).
RATIONALE
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.
COMMENTS
Some local health and/or licensing jurisdictions prohibit any foods being brought from home.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
4.2.0.1 Written Nutrition Plan
4.6.0.1 Selection and Preparation of Food Brought From Home
9.2.3.11 Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans
REFERENCES
  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. http://w2.cocokids.org/_cs/downloadables/cc-healthnutrition-choicetoolkit.pdf.