Health Resource Spotlight: Your Program’s Mealtime Practices—a Quick Self-Assessment

November 17, 2017

The Problem:

Other healthy meal self-assessment tools exist, but they focus on detailed best practices related to nutrition and healthy eating environments. They can be complicated and time-consuming.

One Solution:

The Positive Eating Environment Self-Assessment for Early Care and Education (ECE) Programs is a brief user-friendly assessment of basic mealtime practices. It is designed to help providers quickly evaluate the availability of healthy nutrition and mealtime environments in their programs. The tool consists of five checklists on fruits, vegetables, beverages, menu selection, and the ECE provider’s role during meal and snack times. The provider is asked to check off whether certain practices (e.g., fruit is available daily) happen frequently, sometimes, never, or is something the program is ready to get started on. Once the results are tallied, providers can fill out an Action Plan Worksheet to help them set nutrition/mealtime objectives and list the necessary steps to achieve them.

This tool also includes a selection of recommended resources, and relevant standards and regulations from:

  • The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
  • Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition
  • Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS)

This resource was produced by the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW), and is available on the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC).


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Topics: Health & Safety

Written by Laurie Rackas