How Home Child Care Providers Purchase, Prepare and Serve Healthy Foods: In Depth Interviews with Child and Adult Care Food Program Participants
Child care settings can enhance children's access and exposure to healthy foods through participation in The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which reimburses child care providers for purchasing healthy foods. To identify challenges and facilitators to CACFP participation, we carried out in-depth interviews with CACFP-participating home child care providers to discuss purchasing, preparing, and serving food under CACFP guidelines.
We carried out 20 in-depth telephone interviews with CACFP-participating home child care providers. Transcribed interviews were coded to develop themes using a deductive approach.
Interviews indicated that food costs still burden CACFP-participating child care providers despite reimbursements. CACFP-participating providers who described prioritizing healthy foods and nutrition showed a greater inclination toward purchasing, preparing, and serving healthy foods to children.
We offer recommendations for how to effectively support CACFP-participating providers in offering healthy food to their children within a food choice framework, a multilevel categorization of factors that influence food choice. Recommendations include increased reimbursement rates for food purchases under CACFP and support for peer-to-peer mentoring and health promotion programs targeting child care provider health.