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PART 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL • Meal and snack service: How meals and snacks are served can impact a child’s willingness to try and ability to enjoy new and nutritious foods. Food Purchasing When you are ordering ingredients and ready-to-eat food, it is critical to children’s health and well-being to make simple and informed choices. Many children’s food intake does not meet the USDA’s daily recommended nutrient values. Child care programs should make their food purchases purposefully so children get most of the nutrition they need while in child care. Programs can expose children to healthy foods and eating habits while their tastes and habits are still developing by selecting nutritious and nutrient-dense foods and ingredients. Food-Purchasing Procedures Goal: We follow food-purchasing procedures that ensure the meals and snacks served for all children are safe, diverse, and nutritional and contain no harmful chemicals. Vendors used for food purchasing are licensed and regulated to ensure food safety. Purchased foods have clear nutritional labeling/information (except whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and bulk grains). Food-purchasing procedures ensure diversity in flavor, texture, color, and taste. Allergies and modifications (for example, religious preferences or vegetarian diets) are taken into consideration when purchasing food, to ensure all children receive adequate nutrition according to USDA nutritional guidelines. Purchased fruits and vegetables are fresh, frozen, or packed in water without added sugar or salt. Foods are purchased in their least processed and packaged forms (for example, fresh fruit rather than fruit snacks). Prepackaged meals (for example, prepared lasagna or canned stir-fry) are rarely or never used. More than 50 percent of the grain ingredients and products are whole grain. Purchased vegetables are primarily dark green and leafy or dark yellow/orange. Purchased proteins are diverse and include meat, legumes, soy products, and eggs. 6 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL