Healthier meal guidelines for Kansas care centers

MANHATTAN (KSNT) – After nearly half a century, meal guidelines for children and adults at care centers are being revised. The change is to work hand in hand with revised dietary guidelines for Americans. More than three million children receive meals through the child and adult care feeding program each day. The meals are one way of guaranteeing that those who eat at care centers are getting a balanced died.

Now, the government is updating the recommendations of what they should be eating. Under proposed new guidelines the meals must include more whole grains, less sugar and fat, must include fruit or veggies in snacks and says juice should no longer be given to children under one year old or are still breastfeeding.

“Parents are becoming more nutritionally aware and we know that it’s important that those feed guidance keeps up with what the rest of the country is living for,” says Sandy Procter with KSU. Procter says these changes will not only improve the health of those being served, but also give the providers a healthy bottom line to shoot for.

Jenifer Rae is one of those providers, she runs an in-home daycare are owner, “nothing that I saw, that I read, was going to affect the way I do things now.”

It’s simpler to change the guidelines for children than it is for adults…but they’ll need to make the adjustment as well. “Deficit with their sight, or with their ability to chew and so you have to take those things into consideration and maybe find an alternative that’s equally good for them,” says Jeff Birnbaum, owner of At Home Assisted Living.

There is one silver lining, the USDA says the changes can be accomplished without adding additional cost to the meals, centers just have to be more aware of what they’re buying.

It’s not clear when these changes will be finalized. The department is also launching a new program to get meal providers to reduce the amount of salt they use, saying it can lead to hypertension and heart problems.

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