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IOM Recommends More Nutritious Meals at Day Cares

New report calls for more vegetables, less fat and salt in federally funded program

THURSDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Federally funded snacks and meals served at child and adult day care facilities should be composed of more fruits and vegetables and less fat, salt, and sugar, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine, "Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All."

Suzanne P. Murphy, Ph.D., of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and colleagues edited the report, which notes that about three million children and 114,000 functionally impaired adults received snacks and meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in fiscal year 2010. If followed, the report's recommendations would put the CACFP's nutrition standards on a par with other federal food programs.

The report calls for one fruit and two vegetable servings per meal, and for an increase in dark green and orange vegetables and a limit of starchy vegetables to twice a week, and suggests at least half of the grain products served be rich in whole grains. Recommendations also call for limiting sodium, trans fats, saturated fat, and added sugars, and using lean meats, soy products, beans, eggs, nuts, and meat alternatives for protein.

"The meals and snacks made possible through the CACFP are an important source of nutrition for millions of children and tens of thousands of adults," Murphy said in a statement. "This report points the way to updating the program's meal requirements so that they reflect the latest nutrition science. The changes recommended will help program beneficiaries get more of the nutrients they need without getting too many calories and will promote lifelong healthy eating habits."

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