Implementation of the key elements of the recommended Meal Requirements for CACFP (see section “Recommended Meal Requirements” in Chapter 7) will require many changes on the part of providers, sponsoring organizations, state agencies, and organizations that develop educational materials and offer training for CACFP providers. The committee recognizes that changes in Meal Requirements to meet Dietary Guidelines increase the complexity and cost of being a CACFP provider and introduce foods that may be unfamiliar to many clients. Two major concerns are that implementation of the new Meal Requirements may negatively affect participation by (1) care providers and (2) clients. Especially in the current economy, any loss of revenue based on decreased participation by clients or increased costs to providers would present a real threat to the financial stability of the program. Providers may themselves be economically challenged while serving mainly low-income younger children or low-income disabled and older adults. Reduced participation in CACFP by care providers would weaken the food safety net and could have negative effects on the nutrition of those needing care.
Therefore, careful consideration needs to be given to the many aspects of implementing change. A plan that introduces change incrementally over a realistic time frame—one developed with the involvement of key stakeholders—may be an important step in the successful implementation of the new Meal Requirements.
This section covers (1) implementing key elements for infants, (2) measures to address key elements for those ages 1 year and older, and (3) measures that are more general in scope. A sample of the many resources that may be tapped to assist with implementation efforts is presented in Appendix M.
For infants, the key elements of the new Meal Requirements involve delaying the introduction of infant meats, cereals, vegetables, and fruits until the age of 6 months and the omission of fruit juice of any type before 1 year of age. These changes are expected to be feasible right away, in large part because they bring CACFP into alignment with the food packages and