Grow It, Try It, Like It! Nutrition Education Kit Featuring MyPlate


Grow It, Try It, Like It! Nutrition Education Kit Featuring MyPlate is a garden-themed nutrition education kit for child care center staff that introduces children to: three fruits – peaches, strawberries, and cantaloupe, and three vegetables – spinach, sweet potatoes, and crookneck squash. The kit includes seven booklets featuring fruits and vegetables with fun activities through the imaginary garden at Tasty Acres Farm! It also has a CD-ROM with Supplemental Information and a DVD with Cool Puppy Pups Picnic and Lunch Parties. Each set of lessons contains: hands-on activities, planting activities, and nutrition education activities that introduce MyPlate. Use the kit to promote learning at home with fun parent/child activities and family-sized recipes that give tips for cooking with children.

Source: Food and Nutrition Service

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Child and Adult Care Food Program: National Average Payment Rates, Day Care Home; Food Service Payment Rates, and Administrative Reimbursement Rates for Sponsoring Organizations of Day Care Homes for the Period July 1, 2014 Through June 30, 2015


This notice announces the annual adjustments to the national average payment rates for meals and snacks served in child care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, at-risk afterschool care centers, and adult day care centers; the food service payment rates for meals and snacks served in day care homes; and the administrative reimbursement rates for sponsoring organizations of day care homes, to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index. Further adjustments are made to these rates to reflect the higher costs of providing meals in the States of Alaska and Hawaii. The adjustments contained in this notice are made on an annual basis each July, as required by the laws and regulations governing the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

DATES: These rates are effective from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

Source: Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 136

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Discover MyPlate: Nutrition Education for Kindergarten | Food and Nutrition Service


Discover MyPlate is fun and inquiry-based nutrition education that fosters the development of healthy food choices and physically active lifestyles during a critical developmental and learning period for children — kindergarten.

Kindergarten teachers can meet education standards for Math, Science, English Language Arts, and Health using the 6 ready-to-go and interactive lessons. Children become food-smart as they practice counting, reading, writing, and more. Fun characters and developmentally appropriate activities engage children in:

  • Exploring healthy choices from each of the MyPlate food groups
  • Discovering the colorful variety of fruits and vegetables and how they grow
  • Identifying feelings of hunger and fullness
  • Selecting balanced meals and healthy snacks
  • Experiencing the fun and importance of being physically active

Available: in PDF, for download. If you have difficulty opening any of these files in your Internet browser, please right-click on the link and “save target as…” to download. Printed copies expected in Fall 2014.

Source: Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Often and early gives children a taste for vegetables


Exposing infants to a new vegetable early in life encourages them to eat more of it compared to offering novel vegetables to older children, new research from the University of Leeds suggests.

The researchers, led by Professor Marion Hetherington in the Institute of Psychological Sciences, also found that even fussy eaters are able to eat a bit more of a new vegetable each time they are offered it.

The research, involving babies and children from the UK, France and Denmark, also dispelled the popular myth that vegetable tastes need to be masked or given by stealth in order for children to eat them.

Source: Science Daily

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Head Start Health Services Newsletter: Food Allergies in Head Start


Allergies are caused by an overreaction of the body’s immune system in response to a substance that it believes is harmful. As a result, the body creates antibodies that fight against the substance.

The safety of children with food allergies is everyone’s responsibility. An estimated five percent of children in the U.S. are affected by food allergies. Allergies can begin at any age, so children may already have a food allergy or may develop one. The most common food allergies are related to tree nuts, eggs, milk, and wheat. Allergic reactions that children experience may range from mild to severe, even life-threatening, anaphylactic reactions. Health leaders working directly with families can prepare programs for children with allergies. As the health manager, you can help your program prevent and manage allergic reactions, as well as support children, staff, and families on ways to avoid exposure to allergens. As part of the Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC), staff, administrators, families, and primary care providers can establish systems, routines, and practices that allow all children to safely participate.

Developing and Implementing Policies

Your program should have:

  • A policy for asking parents during initial intake about known allergies
  • Individualized written care plans for each child with food allergies, developed with and approved by the family and health care provider
  • A communication plan that alerts all staff, substitutes, and volunteers to individualized care plans while maintaining confidentiality
  • A policy for medication administration and training
  • A written plan for urgent medical care
  • A policy regarding whether it is permissible to bring food from home to the program

Supporting Staff

Clear systems, policies, and practices ensure all staff has information and training to recognize and take immediate action in the event of an allergic reaction.

Make sure all staff, including food preparation staff, receives training in:

  • Reading food labels and recognizing ingredients that may trigger reactions
  • Preventing exposure to foods to which children are allergic
  • Recognizing symptoms of an allergic reaction
  • Administering prescribed and over-the-counter medications
  • Understanding when to seek routine or emergency medical care
  • Effective communication with families

A major factor in death from anaphylaxis has been a delay in the administration of life-saving emergency medication, particularly epinephrine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in School and Early Care and Education Programs [PDF, 11MB] provides more detailed guidance on reducing allergic reactions and responding to life-threatening situations.

Engaging Families

Draw on families’ strengths by asking them about their child’s allergies and the most effective strategies they have used to deal with an allergic reaction. If the physician has recommended an over-the-counter or prescription medication, be sure the family understands your program’s medication administration policies and procedures. As you develop the child’s individual health plan, discuss his medical history and review with families which food(s) their physician has documented their child must avoid. Talk about procedures the program will put in place to meet the child’s nutritional needs while striving to keep him safe from exposure to allergens. This is a good time to discuss the program’s plan for urgent medical care and strategies families can use at home to prevent or address an allergic reaction. Together, you can develop a care plan that will encourage a consistent approach to keeping the child safe and healthy, and give families confidence in your ability to protect their child.

Questions to Ask Families

  • What are the first signs when your child has an allergic reaction?
  • How do you calm or reassure your child when she has a reaction?
  • Is there a special way to help him take his medication, such as on your lap, rubbing his back, or singing a special song?
  • What Is the Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance?

Food allergies trigger a reaction by the body’s immune system. For example, a milk allergy involves the immune system and symptoms may include hives and breathing problems. While many people consider themselves allergic to certain foods, they actually have intolerance to the food that causes a number of unpleasant symptoms, but is not an allergy. For example, lactose (dairy) intolerance may cause bloating, cramping, and other gastrointestinal symptoms, which do not involve the immune system.

What Is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It develops extremely rapidly and must be treated promptly with epinephrine, either by emergency medical personnel or by trained program staff administering the child’s prescribed dosage. Symptoms may include shortness of breath or wheezing; swelling of lips, tongue, or throat; nausea or vomiting; rash; stomach pain; or other symptoms.

What Next?

  • Providing a safe environment for children with food allergies takes vigilance and commitment across the program. Here are some other steps you can take.
  • Post information about each child’s allergies, with a clear photo of the child, in every room in which the child spends time, that is accessible to staff but not in a publicly-visible location.
  • Ensure that when the child is on the playground, a field trip, or Head Start transportation, someone familiar with a child’s care plan and trained in relevant medication administration accompanies the child with prescribed emergency medication (e.g., EpiPen).
  • Consider adding a clinician or dietician with a specialty in pediatric allergies to your HSAC.
  • Engage your HSAC in reviewing policies and procedures to address food allergies.

Source: National Center on Health

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Let’s Move! Child Care Initiative and Head Start: Share Your Experiences


This June, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Office of Head Start (OHS) are celebrating the fourth anniversary of the Let’s Move! Child Care (LMCC) Initiative. Since its beginning in 2011, this initiative has inspired efforts across the country. LMCC supports work that gives young children opportunities to be active and eat healthy meals and snacks while in early care and education settings such as child care centers, Head Start, Early Head Start, and family child care homes.

OHS has embraced LMCC, and local Head Start and Early Head Start programs are doing great work to improve the health of the young children they serve. We want to hear your stories of progress and success! Whether your program has made big or small changes to promote LMCC’s five main goals, the achievements are worth sharing. Your story can energize and inspire others to make changes to support healthy children and families.

We Want to Hear From You!

Describe how you have added creative movement and increased physical activity in your daily schedule. Share the success of a child or a family as a result of improvements you have made in everyday nutrition practices. Tell us how you have promoted breastfeeding with your Early Head Start mothers and supported their decision to nurse their infant. Be sure to include a photo or two, if available.

How to Share

To share your story, send an email to

Select stories will be featured as part of the fourth anniversary celebration in June. Other stories will be promoted every few months on the LMCC website.


For free tools and resources related to LMCC best practices, visit If your program has not already registered to be part of the initiative, sign up now!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Local School Wellness Policy Implementation Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010


This proposed rule would require all local educational agencies participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or the School Breakfast Program to meet expanded local school wellness policy requirements consistent with the new requirements set forth in section 204 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This proposed rule would establish the framework for the content of the local school wellness policies, ensure stakeholder participation in the development of such policies, and require periodic assessment of compliance and reporting on the progress toward achieving the goals of the local school wellness policy. This proposed rule would also require local educational agencies, as part of the local school wellness policy, to implement policies for the marketing of foods and beverages on the school campus during the school day consistent with nutrition standards for Smart Snacks. Additionally, this proposed rule would require each local educational agency to make information about local school wellness policy implementation for all participating schools available to the public on a periodic basis. The provisions of this proposed rulemaking would ensure local educational agencies establish and implement local school wellness policies that meet minimum standards designed to support a school environment that promotes sound nutrition and student health, reduces childhood obesity, and provides transparency to the public on school wellness policy content and implementation.

Source: Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 38

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FY 2015 Farm to School Grant Program Funds Available | Food and Nutrition Service

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. New in FY 2015, USDA will make approximately an additional $500,000 available to eligible entities to support conferences, trainings, and events focused on farm to school program development. In this funding round, USDA is soliciting applications for four types of grants:

Planning grants are intended for school districts or schools just starting to incorporate farm to school program elements into their operations.

Implementation grants are intended for school districts or schools to help scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.

Support Service grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with school districts or schools to further develop existing farm to school initiatives and to provide broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.

Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 30, 2014. A 25% cash or in-kind match of the total project cost is required.

Conference/Event grants are open to all interested parties. They are intended to support conferences, events and trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or conferences, events and trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education and integration of agriculture‐based curriculum.

Letters of Intent for Conference/Event grants are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 2, 2014.

Important Dates and Deadlines

February 19, 2014: Request for Applications Released

April 2, 2014: Conference/Event Letters of Intent due via email (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)

April 30, 2014: Planning, Implementation, and Support service proposals due via (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)

November 2014: Awards Announced and Funds Available (pending the availability of federal funds)

Webinars to Learn More

USDA will host four webinars to assist eligible entities in preparing proposals. All webinars will be recorded and available via this webpage within 1-2 weeks of initial viewing.

Planning Grant Webinar: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. EST

Implementation Grant Webinar: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. EST

Support Service Grant Webinar: Thursday, March 13, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. EST

Conference/Event Grant Webinar: Friday, March 14 – 1:00 p.m. EST

There is no registration required. Both and Internet connection and telephone line are required in order to view and listen to the webinar. Sound will not come through your computer speakers. To view the webinar via Live Meeting, click here. To listen to the webinar, dial 888-989-7679 and use the passcode 3915580.

Source: Federal Register

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Early Childhood Development: the Promise, the Problem, and the Path Forward | Brookings Institution


More than 200 million children under the age of five in the developing world are at risk of not reaching their full development potential because they suffer from the negative consequences of poverty, nutritional deficiencies and inadequate learning opportunities (Lancet 2007).  In addition, 165 million children (one in four) are stunted, with 90 percent of those children living in Africa and Asia (UNICEF et al, 2012).  And while some progress has been made globally, child malnutrition remains a serious public health problem with enormous human and economic costs.  Child death is a tragedy.  At 6 million deaths a year, far too many children perish before reaching the age of five, but the near certainty that 200 million children today will fall far below their development potential is no less a tragedy.

Source: Brookings Institution

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CLASP: Policy Solutions That Work for Low-Income People


This tool is intended for state advocates and policymakers to use as they work to develop a state early childhood agenda. It includes a series of key questions to understand the context and conditions of young children, birth to six, in the state. Where possible, we also include infant/toddler specific questions. Qu estions include data on demographics and program participation (such as health and nutrition programs), as well as the details of child care and early education settings in the state.

Where possible, links to online data sources are provided, including both original sources and organizations that have analyzed multiple datasets. By following these links, groups can find data specific to their state to populate the tool. Once compiled, these data could be analyzed to identify any trends, areas of need for policy change, and opportunities to support the case for increased investment.

Users can download and save a copy of this tool, open the tool in Microsoft Word, then fill in their state’s data. National figures are included where possible, which can provide context of how infants and toddlers are faring on key indicators.

The full version of the data tool contains five sections, which can be individually downloaded using the links below:

Free assistance in using this tool, and additional supporting resources, are available from CLASP. Please contact Hannah Matthews, 202-906-8006 or

Source: CLASP

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