CACFP: Kids Eat Smart Move More
Did you know that children who learn to eat nutritious food and be active are more likely to continue those healthy habits as adults? Kids Eat Smart Move More (KESMM) was created to support healthy meals and environments in North Carolina child care settings. Don’t know where to start? Use the resources on this page to help.
Resources for Healthy Child Care
These materials were developed in the state to promote health in North Carolina child care homes and centers. The best practice standards serve as guidance for healthy meals and activity in child care settings. They were adapted from the latest national health recommendations for North Carolina child care centers and homes. The Healthy Menus Planning Tool can help directors, teachers, and cooks learn more about serving healthy and creditable meals in centers or homes.
- Nutrition Standards for Child Care (PDF, 542 KB)
- Physical Activity Standards for Child Care (PDF, 670 KB)
- Healthy Menus Planning Toolkit (PDF, 6.6 MB)
The following resources were gathered from North Carolina and beyond to give child care providers like you access to the best wellness resources around.
- Kids ESMM Bulletin Boards
- Bulletin Board Printing Instructions (PDF, 616 KB)
- Whole Grains
- Physical Activity
Comprehensive Nutrition and Physical Activity Resources
- Arizona Department of Health Services, Staff Training Videos: This website contains four videos that can be used to train staff. Topics are: 1) Family style meals in the childcare setting; 2) Breastfeeding in the childcare setting; 3) Physical activity in the childcare setting; and, 4) Infant nutrition in the childcare setting.
- Let’s Move! Child Care: Let’s Move! Child Care contains comprehensive information designed to empower and encourage day care providers to do their part in ending childhood obesity. Let’s Move! Child Care is a joint effort between the government, private, and non-profit communities.
- MyPlate for Preschoolers: This section of the ChooseMyPlate.gov website is for parents and caregivers of children 2 through 5 years of age.
- Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs: This document includes selected standards from Caring For Our Children, developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.
- UNC–Chapel Hill, GO NAP SACC: Download and use the Go NAP SACC Self-Assessments to see how your program can improve. Already used NAP SACC? The revised and expanded self-assessments cover five areas for children ages birth to 5.
- USDA, CACFP Wellness Resources for Child Care Providers: The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 encourages child care providers to promote health and wellness in child care through nutrition, physical activity and limited electronic media use. This Web site is dedicated to helping CACFP providers find the resources they need to meet recommendations in these areas.
- USDA, Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program: Need creative ideas for meal planning, shopping, and food preparation? Or fun suggestions for active play? This handbook was developed to help CACFP child care providers create healthier environments for the children in their care. It includes a series of tip sheets on healthy foods and activity.
- Active Play: This book includes 52 fun physical activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Activities are easy to lead and use easy-to-find, inexpensive equipment.
- Be Active Kids: Be Active Kids is an innovative, interactive physical activity, nutrition, and food safety curriculum for North Carolina preschoolers ages four and five. Be Active Kids uses colorful characters, interactive hands-on lessons and bright visuals to teach children that physical activity, healthy eating, and food safety can be fun!
- CATCH Early Childhood: CATCH Early Childhood (CEC) is designed to nurture a love of healthy eating habits and exercise in children ages 3–5. CEC helps provide an environment where physical activity, health education, and proper nutrition are valued and encouraged.
- Color Me Healthy: Color Me Healthy is a program developed to reach children ages four and five with fun, interactive learning opportunities on physical activity and healthy eating. It is designed to stimulate all of the senses of young children: touch, smell, sight, sound, and, of course, taste. Through the use of color, music, and exploration of the senses, Color Me Healthy teaches children that healthy food and physical activity are fun.
- Exploring Food Together: Activities that engage kids around food offer children a chance to learn about so much more than just food and nutrition. Each activity in this book includes nutrition education objectives, child development and early learning objectives, and a recommended books list. This allows you to see the many ways in which teaching kids about food can help with other developmental goals.
- Healthy Habits for Life: The kit from Sesame Street helps you incorporate healthy physical activity and nutrition habits into your everyday routines. This 100-page guide — available in both English and Spanish — has three sections: Get Moving, Food & Drink to Grow On, and Every Day Is a Healthy Day. Each section contains group poems and songs, posters, activities and reproducibles, and family newsletters.
- More Than Mud Pies (5th edition): A Nutrition Curriculum Guide for Preschool Children: The More Than Mud Pies nutrition education curriculum is designed to provide both staff and children with enjoyable activities that encourage positive ideas about nutrition and foods.
- Rainbow in my Tummy: I have a Rainbow in My Tummy is a creative nutrition-enrichment program that provides early care and education centers the comprehensive, innovative, and accessible resources needed to inspire and support sweeping change in local food policy and food service programs.
For more education materials visit the nutrition education resources page.
- Nibbles for Health: Nutrition Newsletters for Parents of Young Children: Nibbles for Health is a series of 40 reproducible newsletters that staff can give to parents to address many of the challenges they face. Download them online, or order the CD, four posters, two mini-posters free from USDA.
- First Years in the First State: Improving Nutrition & Physical Activity Quality in Delaware Child Care: Partnering with Families: The Partnering with Families Guide is intended to assist child care providers in engaging families as partners to support healthy habits.
- KESMM Web-based Self-Study Module: Families can learn about nutrition for their preschool-aged children at no cost. Download the flyer (PDF, 4.57 MB) to post in your child care.
- For more family education materials, look in the Tip Sheets folder (below).
- Cooperative Extension: Use this link to locate the Cooperative Extension office in your county. An agent there can be of assistance with gardening or purchasing local food.
- Early Sprouts: Children learn to grow, harvest, and prepare nutritious seasonal produce in this seed-to-table curriculum centered around a working garden. Its aim is to increase preschool children’s food preferences for and consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Farm-to-Preschool: Farm to Preschool is a natural expansion of the national farm to school model and serves the full spectrum of child care delivery: preschools, Head Start, center-based, programs in K-12 school districts, nurseries and family home care facilities. Program components can include: sourcing local foods in school snacks and meals; promoting and increasing access to local foods for providers and families; offering nutrition and/or garden-based curricula; school gardening; in-class food preparation and taste testing; field trips to farms, farmers’ markets and community gardens; parent workshops; implementing preschool wellness policies which address Farm to Preschool principles; and influencing policies at the local, state or national level.
- Got Dirt?, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Never gardened? The Got Dirt? Garden toolkit is designed to provide simple, step-by-step plans for starting a garden. The Got Dirt? program is designed to assist with the implementation of school, community, and child care gardens.
- Got Veggies?, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Got Veggies? is a garden-based nutrition education curriculum with the goal of getting children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Got Veggies? was developed for 2nd and 3rd grade students and for use in a garden learning environment. Lessons can be easily adapted for younger and older children, and for use in the classroom, if you do not have a garden.
- Grow It, Try It, Like It! Preschool Fun with Fruits and Vegetables, USDA: Grow It, Try It, Like It! 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.
- Growing Minds, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP): Look to this farm to preschool program for lesson plans, activities, and curriculum ideas related to school gardens, farms, and local food.
- Harvest of the Month Curriculum, Occidental College: This farm-to-preschool curriculum includes lessons on tomatoes, peppers, persimmons, and more.
- North Carolina Farm Fresh: Follow this link to find a North Carolina farm, farmers market, or garden center. This site is maintained by the NC Department of Agriculture.
- The Produce Lady, NC State University: The Produce Lady program has experience teaching child care providers about the wonders of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Find videos, recipes, and storage info on a variety of produce local to North Carolina.
- Delaware CACFP, Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity Quality in Delaware Child Care: Menu Planning Guide
- Fruit and Veggies More Matters, Healthy Recipes for Kids
- Growing Minds Farm to School Recipes
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Fruit and Veggie Quantity Cookbook
- Recipes for Healthy Kids: Cookbook for Child Care Centers
- USDA, Team Nutrition Recipes
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Healthy Bites: A Wisconsin guide for improving childhood nutrition. Healthy Bites is a guide designed to help early care and education (ECE) professionals address childhood obesity by improving nutrition in the program. The guides can be used by ECE professionals in a variety of settings, including: group and family child care centers, after-school programs, Head Start centers and other CACFP facilities.
Training Videos and Webinars
Team Nutrition Iowa, Spend Smart, Eat Smart in Child Care: This webinar offers many useful ways to save money yet provide healthy meals in the child care setting.
University of Iowa, Feeding Young Children in Group Settings: Use this collection of training videos to refresh your own knowledge or train staff. Videos include topics such as introducing new foods, family-style meal service, and mealtime conversations.
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Active Early: A Wisconsin Guide for Improving Physical Activity | Active Early Spanish Version: Active Early is a guide designed to help early care and education (ECE) professionals address childhood obesity by improving physical activity in the program. The guide can be used in a variety of settings, including: group and family child care centers, after-school programs, Head Start centers and other CACFP facilities.
- Nemours, Best Practices for Physical Activity: A Guide To Help Children Grow Up Healthy: To help you promote and support quality physical activity in your setting, this guide provides: 1) Physical activity guidelines for children birth through 18 years of age; 2) Concrete examples you can use to support the guidelines; 3) Rationale for the guidelines; 4) Sample child care policies; 5) Office of Child Care Licensing Regulations for physical activity; 6) Sample school policies; and, 7) Parent and Family Tip Sheets.
- Head Start Body Start: This website is full of resources and ideas to bring active play and meaningful movement to your Head Start, early childhood program, or day care center — both indoors and out! You'll also find tools and guidance to help you enhance your play space or create an outdoor classroom. Families can find activities and tools to inspire creative, movement-based play and healthy food choices at home.
- Motion Moments: These videos will show you a few simple ways to weave physical activity into your current early care and education program in either a child care center or family child care home working with infants, toddlers or preschoolers.
- Natural Learning Initiative: The mission of the Natural Learning Initiative is to help communities create stimulating places for play, learning, and environmental education — environments that recognize human dependence on the natural world. We collaborate with educators, play leaders, environmental educators, planners, politicians, and all professionals working for and with children.
- Screen Free Moments: Promoting Healthy Habits: Shows a few simple ways to limit or even eventually eliminate screen time in a family child care home.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Be Active Kids: Be Active Kids is an innovative, interactive physical activity, nutrition, and food safety curriculum for North Carolina preschoolers ages four and five.
- The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth, Developmental Chart: What activities can children ages birth to three be expected to do? Consult this list from The Nemours Foundation.
- National Resource Center for Health and Safety Checklist for Physical Activity in Early Child Care and Education
- NC Cooperative Extension, Specific Ideas for Child Care Providers to Help Children with Physical Disabilities
- Iowa Department of Education, Stories in Motion: These short stories include action words that prompt bursts of physical activity! Utilize these stories in your classroom for short physical activity breaks.
- Kids ESMM Tips for Childcare Providers
- Kids ESMM Tips for Families
What is Kids Eat Smart Move More (Kids ESMM)?
Kids ESMM is a Child Wellness Grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the North Carolina Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
What is the purpose of the Kids ESMM Grant?
The Kids ESMM mission is to help prevent childhood obesity among young children in CACFP child care settings. All grant activities aim to improve the nutrition and physical activity practices of preschoolers and the adults who care for them.
What are the objectives of Kids ESMM?
Grant activities include:
- Development of child care nutrition and physical activity standards consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Institute of Medicine recommendations for CACFP.
- Provide nutrition and physical activity training to CACFP Institutions.
- Implement a breastfeeding-friendly child care awards program.
- Partnership with the North Carolina Community College System to train early childhood education majors and provide continuing education credits for child care providers.
- Development of an online child obesity prevention self-study module (for childcare providers and parents).
- Try the module!
- Watch a demonstration on how to use the online module! (WMV, 16.25 MB; Requires a current version of the free Windows Media Player or a cross-platform player, such as the free VLC media player for Windows, Mac, Linux and other operating systems.)
- Use this flyer (PDF, 4.5 MB) to promote the website to child care provider staff and parents!
- Initiation of a community outreach campaign to encourage sustainable early childhood obesity prevention efforts in North Carolina.
How can the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) help with child obesity prevention?
The CACFP of North Carolina is administered by the Nutrition Services Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health and has a unique opportunity to make a broad impact on childhood obesity at an early age by improving nutritional quality of meals and encouraging more physical activity among young children in child care settings.
How does North Carolina compare to other states with regard to child obesity rates?
North Carolina is ranked 11th in the nation for childhood obesity with 31 percent of 2-5 year-olds classified as overweight or obese (Trust for America’s Health).
Need More Information?
If you have questions or would like more information about Kids ESMM, call (919) 707-5799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional CACFP Links