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Child Nutrition Programs Resource Library

A library of online resources for program operators participating in the Child Nutrition Programs.

Overview

The Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is providing a library of online resources for program operators participating in the School Nutrition Program (SNP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). These resources are made available to assist program operators with career development, compliance needs, and to enhance their Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). The resources are grouped by program and separated by topic areas. The After School Program and Food Distribution Program resources are coming soon!

For online trainings, please refer to the CNP Course Catalog web page.

Definitions

After School Programs: The programs that give children and teenagers the nutrition they need, and draw them into constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning after the school day. The federally reimbursable after school programs are under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and CACFP.

Child and Adult Care Food Program: The CACFP provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants and children as a regular part of their day care.

Child Care Center: A child care center, school-age center, at-risk afterschool center, or emergency shelter. This does not include day care homes.

Center: A child care center, school-age center, at-risk afterschool center, adult day care center, or emergency shelter.

Day Care Home Provider: A day care home provider that participates in the CACFP under the auspices of a day care home sponsor.

Day Care Home Sponsor: A nonprofit or public agency that has a current, valid program agreement with the NSD to participate as a sponsor in the CACFP.

Food Distribution Program: The program that assists agencies by making U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods available to enhance the feeding programs of participants of the CNPs.

National School Lunch Program: The NSLP program that assists schools and other agencies to provide nutritious lunches to children at reasonable prices.

School Breakfast Program (SBP): The SBP that assists schools and other agencies in providing nutritious breakfasts to children at reasonable prices.

School Food Authority (SFA): An administering entity for the operation of a school feeding program. It can receive federal meal reimbursements for administering the meal programs. An SFA may be a school district, several school districts, or individual schools.

School Nutrition Programs: Within California, any of the following programs: the California Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, SBP, NSLP, Seamless Summer Option (SSO), or Special Milk Program.

Sponsors: Sponsoring organizations that are entirely responsible for the administration of the food program for: (a) one or more day care homes; (b) two or more centers (see definition of centers); (c) a center that is a legally distinct entity from the sponsoring organization (see definition of sponsor of unaffiliated centers), or (d) any combination of the above.

Summer Food Service Program: A program that reimburses sponsors for administrative and operational costs to provide meals for children 18 years of age and younger during periods when they are out of school for 15 or more consecutive school days.

Seamless Summer Option: A program that encourages more public school districts and county offices of education to provide meals in low income areas during summer and certain other school vacation periods. The SSO combines features of the NSLP, SBP, and SFSP. The SSO reduces paperwork and administrative burdens and makes it easier for sponsors to feed children in low income areas during traditional summer vacation periods and during school vacation periods of longer than 10 days for year-round schools.

School Nutrition Programs

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Nutrition Education

Grade Group Resource Description
K–12 Nutrition Education Resource Guide
A resource to assist local educational agencies and after school programs in their efforts to implement well-planned, high-quality instructional programs in nutrition education.
Kindergarten Building a Healthy Me! Curriculum
This curriculum features six nutrition education lessons that introduce children to the food groups and to a variety of healthy eating options.
K–12 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Photo Cards External link opens in new window or tab.
This set of 140 beautiful photo cards can be used to encourage students to learn about and eat more fruits and vegetables. Each card lists the English and Spanish name of the fruit or vegetable.
PreK–12 Team Nutrition Education Materials
Information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition Initiative that provides free nutrition education materials created for children in the CNP.
K–12 School Nutrition... By Design! Tool
A tool that provides the design principles behind developing a healthy school nutrition environment.
4–6 Nutrition to Grow On Curriculum
An innovative curriculum for grades four through six that offers teachers a direct link between the garden and nutrition education.
K–12 Harvest of the Month Harvest of the Month is an online resource with access to tools and materials that can be used widely in school environments.
2–3 Growing Healthy Kids Garden-based and nutrition education curriculum connecting to plants, and uses gardening as a vehicle to expose children to a variety of vegetables and fruits and encourages increased consumption of vegetables and fruits.
5–6, 7–8, and 9–12 Nourish: Food and Community This instructional resource contains a curriculum guide about food and sustainability.
6–8 Exercise Your Options Middle-school students assess their nutrition and physical activity in this curriculum that aligns with education standards and is based on a behavior-change model.
K–2 EatFit Nutrition education and physical activity lessons that teach students the skills they need to meet their goals.
5–6 Dig In! Standards-based Nutrition Education from the Ground Up Ten nutrition education lessons that introduces students to the food system, gardening, food safety, taste testing and more!
4 Children’s Power Play! School Idea and Resource Kit Nutrition education and physical activity kit includes ten activities to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption and to promote physical activity.
5–7 Food Safety from Farm to Fork A resource used to help students better understand food safety by real life examples, activities, and games.
6–8 Integrating Concepts about Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Lessons that can be integrated into core subjects for middle schoolers. Lessons are organized into nutrient content areas: carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.
4–7 Healthalicious Cooking Six after-school lessons used to develop student skills in food preparation, recipe reading, menu planning, meal preparation, and to be physically active.
3–4 The Great Garden Detective Adventure This standards-based curriculum integrates gardening experiences and nutrition education to empower children to make healthful food choices and develop an awareness of how fruits and vegetables are grown.
K Discover MyPlate Six interactive nutrition lessons for kindergarteners including mini books, food cards, recipes, student workbooks, parent handouts, and a poster to help develop healthy food choices and to promote a physically active lifestyle.
1–2 Healthy Choices, Healthy Me! Curriculum Nutrition education lessons that help children learn the basic skills to identify healthy food choices and understand more about agriculture and our food system.
4–5 Nutrition Pathfinders This curriculum provides a range of lessons that focus on fundamental concepts about healthy eating and physical activity.
PreK Division of Responsibility in Feeding (PDF) Provides basic information on how to feed children based on Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility.
PreK Division of Responsibility in Feeding, Spanish: División de responsabilidades en la alimentación (PDF) Proporciona información básica sobre cómo alimentar a los niños según la División de Responsabilidad de Ellyn Satter.
PreK Make Food Fun and Attractive (PDF) Provides ideas for making food fun and attractive to encourage healthy eating for children.
PreK Make Food Fun and Attractive, Spanish: Prepare Alimentos Atractivos y Divertidos (PDF) Proporciona ideas para hacer que la comida sea divertida y atractiva para fomentar una alimentación saludable para los niños.
PreK Simple Ways to Offer Vegetables (PDF) Provides suggestions on how to increase children’s consumption of vegetables.
PreK Simple Ways to Offer Vegetables, Spanish: Maneras Sencillas de Ofrecer Verduras (PDF) Proporciona sugerencias sobre cómo aumentar el consumo de verduras en los niños.

Recipes

Grade Group Resource Description
K–12 California Culinary Centers Standardized Recipes
This collection of school district culinary center recipes reflects a variety of strategies for scratch cooking, including using locally grown California produce and multicultural flavors that students love.

Cooking in the Classroom

Grade Group Resource Description
K–12 Cook with Kids! Cooking Event Planner
The Cook with Kids! Cooking Event Planner provides a variety of tips and handouts for planning and instructing cooking and nutrition education in the classroom, including equipment lists, sample recipes, and safety rules.
K–12 Classroom Cooking Cart Equipment
Provides a list of basic items for preparing food in the classroom.
2–7 Kids Cook Farm-Fresh Foods
An activity guide that links academic content standards to the real world through gardens, nutrition, cooking, recycling, and the environment.
PreK Cooking with Young Children (PDF) Provides ideas for involving children in the kitchen to teach them basic nutrition and cooking skills, and increase consumption of nutritious foods.
PreK Cooking with Young Children, Spanish: Cocinar con Niños Pequeños (PDF) Proporciona ideas para involucrar a los niños en la cocina para enseñarles nutrición básica y habilidades culinarias, y aumentar el consumo de alimentos nutritivos.

Physical Activity

Grade Group Resource Description
PreK Active Play for Preschoolers (PDF)
Provides ideas to engage children in active play throughout the day.
PreK Active Play for Preschoolers, Spanish: El Juego Activo para los Niños de edad Preescolar (PDF) Proporciona ideas para involucrar a los niños en el juego activo durante todo el día.

Additional Resource Databases

To find additional resource databases, visit the:

  • Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) ICN Resources A-Z Index web page External link opens in new window or tab. has resources that support all of the CNPs such as best practices, posters, mini posters, nutrition curriculum, and more.
  • The Edible School Yard Project Resource Library web page External link opens in new window or tab. has nutrition education resources that can be sorted by place of learning (kitchen classroom, garden, lunchroom, indoor classroom, etc.), grade level, subject and materials needed.
  • The Center for Ecoliteracy Resources web page External link opens in new window or tab. provides a collection of books, lessons, guides, recipes, videos, and other tools to support ecological education.
  • The California Agriculture in the Classroom Teaching Resources External link opens in new window or tab. provide a variety of agriculture resources and lessons to teachers and educators in grades K–12. You can download the resources or order a set at no cost. Resources are searchable by subject, keyword, or grade level.

Child & Adult Care Food Program

Nutrition Education

Grade Group Resource Description
PreK–12 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Photo Cards External link opens in new window or tab.
This set of 140 beautiful photo cards can be used to encourage students to learn about and eat more fruits and vegetables. Each card lists the English and Spanish name of the fruit or vegetable.
PreK–12 Team Nutrition Education Materials
Information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition Initiative that provides free nutrition education materials created for children in the CNP.
K–12 Harvest of the Month Harvest of the Month is an online resource with access to tools and materials that can be used widely in school environments.
PreK Division of Responsibility in Feeding (PDF) Provides basic information on how to feed children based on Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility.
PreK Division of Responsibility in Feeding, Spanish: División de responsabilidades en la alimentación (PDF) Proporciona información básica sobre cómo alimentar a los niños según la División de Responsabilidad de Ellyn Satter.
PreK Make Food Fun and Attractive (PDF) Provides ideas for making food fun and attractive to encourage healthy eating for children.
PreK Make Food Fun and Attractive, Spanish: Prepare Alimentos Atractivos y Divertidos (PDF) Proporciona ideas para hacer que la comida sea divertida y atractiva para fomentar una alimentación saludable para los niños.
PreK Simple Ways to Offer Vegetables (PDF) Provides suggestions on how to increase children’s consumption of vegetables.
PreK Simple Ways to Offer Vegetables, Spanish: Maneras Sencillas de Ofrecer Verduras (PDF) Proporciona sugerencias sobre cómo aumentar el consumo de verduras en los niños.

Cooking in the Classroom

Grade Group Resource Description
PreK–12 Classroom Cooking Cart Equipment A list of basic items for preparing food in the classroom.
PreK Cooking with Young Children (PDF) Provides ideas for involving children in the kitchen to teach them basic nutrition and cooking skills, and increase consumption of nutritious foods.
PreK Cooking with Young Children, Spanish: Cocinar con Niños Pequeños (PDF) Proporciona ideas para involucrar a los niños en la cocina para enseñarles nutrición básica y habilidades culinarias, y aumentar el consumo de alimentos nutritivos.

Physical Activity

Grade Group Resource Description
PreK Active Play for Preschoolers (PDF) Provides ideas to engage children in active play throughout the day.
PreKPreK Active Play for Preschoolers, Spanish: El Juego Activo para los Niños de edad Preescolar (PDF) Proporciona ideas para involucrar a los niños en el juego activo durante todo el día.

Additional Resource Databases

To find additional resource databases, visit the:

  • Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) ICN Resources A-Z Index web page External link opens in new window or tab. has resources that support all of the CNPs such as best practices, posters, mini posters, nutrition curriculum, and more.
  • The Edible School Yard Project Resource Library web page External link opens in new window or tab. has nutrition education resources that can be sorted by place of learning (kitchen classroom, garden, lunchroom, indoor classroom, etc.), grade level, subject and materials needed.

Summer Food Service Program

Nutrition Education

Grade Group Resource Description
K–12
The infographic is a colorful handout that schools and community groups can distribute to parents to increase awareness of the importance of healthy choices during the summer months.
K–12
This guide is a six page color brochure that schools and community groups can distribute to parents to increase awareness of the importance of healthy food choices and physical activity during the summer months. Guides available for order or print in English and Spanish.
K–12
This hands-on kit is designed to get kids and families excited about healthy eating and physical activity during the summer months. The kit is designed for use by summer meal site operators and focuses on using music, games, art, and movement to motivate kids and families to choose more fruits and vegetables, choose water instead of sugary drinks, get enough physical activity every day, and to limit screen time. Guides available for order or print in English and Spanish.
K–12
This placemat can be given out with summer meals. It has fun physical activity call outs, nutrition education puzzle, jokes, and more.
PreK–12
Information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition Initiative that provides free nutrition education materials created for summer meal programs.
K–12
This set of 140 beautiful photo cards can be used to encourage students to learn about and eat more fruits and vegetables. Each card lists the English and Spanish name of the fruit or vegetable.

Additional Resource Databases

To find additional resource databases, visit the:

  • Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) ICN Resources A-Z Index web page External link opens in new window or tab. resources that support all of the CNPs such as best practices, posters, mini posters, nutrition curriculum, and more.

Contacts

If you have any general questions, please contact the California Department of Education NSD by phone at 800-952-5609 or by email at HHFKA@cde.ca.gov.

Mailing Lists

Sign up to receive program information by email. By being a member of the mailing lists, you will be notified by email when there are program updates.

 

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 08, 2020
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