New Ontario Dietitians in Public Health Child Care Nutrition Resources
January 30, 2018
This blog post was written by the Child Care Working Group (CCWG) of the Ontario Dietitians in Public Health (ODPH). ODPH is the independent and official voice of Registered Dietitians working in public health in Ontario. The Child Care Working Group is a sub-group of ODPH and includes members who work closely with child care settings.
Ontario’s Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 CCEYA (section 42 of Ont. Reg. 137/15) includes food and drink requirements for child care settings. Other than the specific legislation, regulations do not provide guidance regarding the provision of healthy foods and beverages to Ontario children in care.
To guide the implementation of these requirements, public health dietitians of the Child Care Working Group (CCWG) of the Ontario Dietitians in Public (ODPH) have created resources to help centres and home child care providers meet these provincial requirements.
One such resource is the Menu Planning and Supportive Nutrition Environments for Child Care Settings – Practical Guide. These recommendations are based on Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants, Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide and Canada’s Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and provide more guidance than the requirements of the CCEYA.
This Practical Guide includes:
- Menu planning strategies to save shopping and food preparation time, as well as money
- Nutrition classification for food and beverage choices: foods to “Serve Most Often”, “Serve Sometimes”, or “Do Not Serve”, which categorize foods based on overall nutritional value
- Appropriate portion sizes for different age groups that respect children’s appetites
- Guidance on label reading to help make healthy food choices
- Sample menus to include some ideas of good food choices, and
- Tips for creating supportive nutrition environments to help children develop a lifelong healthy relationship with food
Another resource is the Menu and Nutrition Environment Self-Assessment Tool. This resource complements the Practical Guide and considers common challenges faced by menu planners. The resource comes with a checklist that can be used to review and enhance menus and nutrition environments.
These resources were developed for use by cooks, early child hood educators, home child care providers, caterers, child care administrators and provincial licensing agents.
With a goal to support consistent implementation of the CCEYA regulations in child care programs across Ontario, public health professionals, and particularly public health dietitians, are being asked to familiarize themselves with and actively promote the new ODPH nutrition recommendations, resources and tools for child care.
Many centres are finding it challenging to prepare a variety of snacks daily while following the recommendations. Centres are encouraged to consult the sample menu in the Practical Guide (Appendix C).
To view the most current resources, please visit the ODPH website or contact us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.