care providers lacking the support or expertise to implement a more complicated, nutrient-based system.
However, FNS would like the IOM committee to provide recommendations for nutrient goals or targets for each meal type and age group served. Nutrient content goals would include minimum and maximum calorie requirements, as well as appropriate macro and key micronutrient levels. These goals would be useful in developing food-based meal requirements and for possible State and Federal oversight activities. The targets for intake at each meal, and the nutrient goals for meals planned at the offered and served level, would be necessary for evaluation studies and assessments.
The majority of CACFP meals are prepared and served on-site in small group environments. In day care homes, food purchasing, planning, preparation, and service are often carried out by the same individuals; these individuals, who also provide the child care service, frequently have no formal nutrition, food service, or management training. While FNS encourages the IOM to build upon the meal pattern work conducted for the NSLP and SBP when developing recommendations for CACFP, it is important to recognize that the scale and scope of meal services in CACFP are very different than those in NSLP and SBP. All recommendations must be realistic to implement in a home-based setting and should be as economical as possible.
To ensure that the recommendations are attainable, the Department requests that the final IOM report include a 4-week cycle menu for each of the recommended age groups. These menus should meet all recommendations, remain relatively cost neutral and not be likely to have an adverse effect on program participation.
The CACFP provides meals primarily to children from birth to age 18. The number of meals served to disabled and elderly adults in the program is significantly increasing. The current CACFP meal pattern establishes minimum portion sizes for each food component in seven age groupings. We request that the committee recommend age groupings that can be successfully implemented via the various operational styles in CACFP and that also reflect the appropriate nutritional needs for relevant stages of growth and development in children and adolescents as well as among disabled and elderly adults. The following list includes particular areas of concern in the current meal pattern that we would like IOM to address: