New Resources for CACFP Providers in 2023

ROUND ROCK, TEXAS, USA, March 4, 2024 / — The National CACFP Sponsors Association is committed to providing free and low-cost resources to those who operate the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and continues to produce resources for the CACFP community. In 2023, NCA put out 10 new educational PDFs, as well as a toolkit for its “Exploring Our National Parks” 2024 Nutrition Calendar and Training Program. Additionally, 21 new creditable recipes were added to NCA’s website, which are free for any user to access.

The educational PDFs that were released in 2023 covered a wide range of topics. “Age-Appropriate Kitchen Tasks” details how kids can be more involved in the food preparation process, focusing on tasks that can be done by kids who are 2-3 years old and 4-5 years old. Kids can also show autonomy during meal time with “Make It Your Own with a CACFP Food Station,” which outlines how a provider can prepare a custom station with multiple food items per component, such as a taco station or a trail mix station.

Keeping within budget is a concern that many providers have in recent years, which is why NCA produced the “Budget Savvy Sample Menu” with two weeks of menu ideas that use staple pantry items and use one ingredient for multiple meals and snacks. It pairs well with “Healthy Choices on a Budget,” which provides 10 ways that providers can save money when grocery shopping, and “Limit Sodium without Limiting Flavor,” which encourages the use of herb and spice blends for a way to add flavor without breaking the bank.

Kids are also encouraged to not only try new foods, but learn about how they are important for their health. The “Go on a Taste-Testing Adventure” worksheet helps kids express their feelings about trying a new food while encouraging them to try it seven times before deciding that they do not like the food. “What Do Components Do for the Body?” is a tool that providers can use to educate themselves and then pass along to the children in their care by identifying what foods contain certain vitamins and minerals, and how they help the body function. The “Plant-Forward Cycle Menu” is a way for kids to try meals and snacks in which plant-based foods take center stage. Many of the foods on the menu are available as a recipe on the website, such as Red Bean Curry, Lentil Plantballs and Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

Resources were also released that can help with crediting and accommodations. “Accommodating Special Diets in the CACFP Flow Chart” is a useful tool for those who have participants who require modifications due to medical disabilities, food allergies, or religious and personal preferences. The USDA also recently added 18 traditional indigenous foods to the Food Buying Guide, so NCA created “Crediting Traditional Indigenous Foods” to help with identifying how much of each food to serve in order to be reimbursable in the food program.

NCA also creates a full suite of resources every year for the CACFP Nutrition Calendar and Training Program. The theme of 2024’s calendar is “Exploring Our National Parks” and the toolkit was released in October. The toolkit contains 12 months of activity pages, parent newsletter templates and motivation posters, as well as a five-hour training module. This year, NCA added a recipe book with 24 new recipes and a “Spices for Anytime” handout that provides recipes for spice blends that are popular in various regions of the United States.

Since 1986, the National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA) is the leading national organization for sponsors who administer the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). We provide education and support to thousands of members in the CACFP community and to sponsors of all sizes from across the country. We strive to improve communication between families, care givers, sponsors, and their supervising government agencies.

Jennifer Basey
National CACFP Sponsors Association
+1 5128508278
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