Recent legislation promotes healthy beverages in child care!
AB 2084, the Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act, took effect January 1, 2012 and applies to all licensed child care homes and centers in California. The new healthy beverages standards require:
- Clean and safe drinking water must be readily available throughout the day, including at all meal, snack, and play times.
- Only fat-free or low-fat (1%) unsweetened, plain milk for children two years of age or older.
- No more than one serving per day of 100 percent juice.
- Beverages with added sweeteners, either natural or artificial, are prohibited (not including infant formula or complete balanced nutritional products designed for children)
The federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 requires that childcare facilities that receive funding under the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) make free drinking water available throughout the day and that they limit the fat content of the milk served to children aged two years and older. These CACFP water and milk changes are already in effect. Upcoming regulatory changes to the CACFP meal pattern may provide renewed opportunity to further improve beverage options for childcare facilities participating in CACFP.
Important to note for California childcare facilities: Despite the less strict federal beverage standards that apply to child care facilities that participate in CACFP, all licensed childcare facilities in California, whether they participate in the CACFP program or not, are responsible for complying with the stronger healthy beverage standards of AB 2084.