Education and Training Resources for CACFP Professionals

ICN’s research-based education and training resources are designed to support CACFP professionals in successfully implementing the program’s requirements.


Through USDA FNS guidance and collaboration, ICN developed the CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements training materials. This webpage features training materials and additional resources for implementing the updated meal pattern requirements.

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CACFP Meal Pattern Tip Cards

TitleDate addedDownload
CACFP Tip CardDecember 16, 2020 Download

Recipes for Healthy Kids – The 30 winning recipes from the Recipes for Healthy Kids (R4HK) competition are credited to support the whole grain-rich, red/orange, dark green, and beans/peas (legumes) vegetable subgroups for the meal patterns as part of the Nutrition Standards in School Meal Programs. Find these recipes in the Team Nutrition Resource Library


Child and Adult Meal Pattern Requirements

CACFP Optional Best Practices

CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements

This course is designed to provide the end user with key practices for planning cycle menus for child care settings.


This course consists of three lessons that are designed to help you, the child care professional, make nutrition education a part of snack time.


This course features key information for serving nutritious foods while in child care settings.


The Step-by-Step Menu Planning for Child Care online course is based on the Grab and Go Lesson


The Family Child Care FUNdamentals online course is based on the face-to-face training, Family Child Care FUNdamentals.


Food Safety in Child Care, formerly known as Serving Safe Food



How To Request Training?

After you have entered the information on the Training Request Form, scroll to the bottom and press “Submit.” If your request is successfully transmitted to ICN, you will receive an electronic reply. If you do not receive a reply, please contact ICN.

Three Things to Remember:

  • ICN requires at least 8-10 weeks’ advance notice before the training date to schedule and plan a training session.
  • ICN Consultant Trainers must train a minimum of 4 hours in a single day.
  • A minimum of 25-30 participants is required for ICN to provide a training session.


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Cycle Menus for Child Care- Preschoolers

TitleDate addedDownload
Cycle Menus for Child Care- PreschoolersJuly 14, 2022 Download

Mealtime Memos

As of 2021, the Mealtime Memo is published online and can be accessed here

Subscribe to the Mealtime Memos e-newsletter.

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The Grab in 5 handouts feature five ways to incorporate healthy practices within the home and community. Families may find these handouts useful when seeking strategies for incorporating gardening, recycling, good nutrition, physical activity, and more.

Grab and Go Lessons feature user-friendly, research-based best practices. These 2-3 page handouts are designed specifically for operators of the Child and Adult Care Food Program with limited time.

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Nutrition and Meal Management

TitleDate addedDownload
A Caring Relationship at MealtimesMay 20, 2020 Download
Alternative Cooking Methods to Deep-Fat FryingApril 21, 2021 Download
Alternative Cooking Methods to Deep-Fat FryingApril 21, 2021 Download
Benefits for Serving Meals Family Style in Child CareMay 20, 2020 Download
Benefits for Using Standardized Recipes in the CACFPApril 21, 2021 Download
CACFP and Family Style Meal ServiceOctober 22, 2020 Download
Defining Tofu and How It Credits in the CACFPApril 21, 2021 Download
Handling Pumped Breastmilk- Receiving, Storing, and PreparingMay 20, 2020 Download
Happy Mealtime Self-CheckMay 20, 2020 Download
Offering and Making Water Available in Child CareMay 20, 2020 Download
Protein and Good NutritionOctober 22, 2020 Download
Selecting Grains for Good HealthOctober 22, 2020 Download
Snacks for a Balanced NutritionMay 05, 2022 Download
Special Support for the Breastfeeding FamilyMay 20, 2020 Download
Strategies for Reducing SodiumOctober 22, 2020 Download
Strategies for Reducing SugarOctober 22, 2020 Download
Tip Sheet- 5 Tips for Understanding a Child's View of MealtimeMay 20, 2020 Download
Understanding Marketing ClaimsApril 21, 2021 Download
Understanding Measurements for Food PreparationApril 21, 2021 Download
Understanding the Ingredient List on Labels for Good NutritionApril 21, 2021 Download
Understanding the Parts of the Nutrition Facts LabelApril 21, 2021 Download
Using Herbs and Spices to Flavor Foods- Enhancing Flavor and AppealApril 21, 2021 Download
Using Herbs and Spices to Flavor Foods- Purchasing and StoringApril 21, 2021 Download
Vary Your Vegetables and FruitsOctober 22, 2020 Download
Vegetarian Diets for Young ChildrenMay 05, 2022 Download
Working with a Chef to Build Culinary SkillsApril 21, 2021 Download

Food preparation is a fundamental factor for providing nutritious meals and snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Having the right tools, such as pots, pans, and knives, can make food prep simpler and faster. Here are some tools to consider when equipping your meal preparation area.

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Food Preparation Tools

TitleDate addedDownload
Choosing the Right KnifeSeptember 18, 2019 Download
Parts of a KnifeSeptember 18, 2019 Download
Kitchen Essentials for Child Care PosterFebruary 19, 2020 Download

The Child Care Center Food Safety Guide provides guidelines and tips on how to safely prepare food in child care settings. This resource guide features the latest good food safety practices for personal hygiene; time and temperature control of food; cleaning and sanitizing; and safely preparing food for infants and young children. Use this guide to train new center staff in food safety and as a reference for food safety questions for child care centers.

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Child Care Center Food Safety Guide

TitleDate addedDownload
Child Care Center Food Safety GuideNovember 10, 2022 Download


View Research Resources
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articles and documents.
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