Child Nutrition Recognition

Recognition in Child Nutrition shows that a facility is committed to giving children a healthy start through nutritious meals and positive mealtimes. Learn more about our key evidence-based practices in Child Nutrition and how to apply for the recognition below. And, be sure to check out the ECE facilities already recognized in Child Nutrition.

Healthy Menus

Offering nutritious foods helps children be healthy and ready to learn and encourages a lifetime of health eating habits.

Healthy Feeding Practices

Positive meal times are part of a positive classroom environment. Encouraging children to try new foods while respecting their hunger, fullness, and food choices helps them build healthy eating habits.

Child Nutrition Family Engagement

ECE facilities are a trusted source of information about what’s best for children. Families value and need your guidance to sort through all of the information they get about raising young children.

Child Nutrition Policy

A written policy on child nutrition shows that a facility is committed to children’s current health and building healthy habits for a lifetime. Written policies help the facility communicate values and expectations clearly with families and staff.

How to Apply

  1. Make sure the facility is eligible for the Child Nutrition REACH recognition.
    • REACH recognized facilities/programs must be licensed and located in North Carolina and serve infants, toddlers, and/or preschool-aged children.
    • Facilities must have achieved a score of “Leading the Way” on their latest Go NAPSACC Child Nutrition self-assessment (taken within the past 12 months).
  1. Gather required information and documentation. Along with providing basic information about the ECE program, you will show how the facility is meeting key evidence-based practices in Child Nutrition by submitting scanned copies/photos of:
    • A month of menus that shows the program is meeting the following best practices:
      • High-fiber, whole grain foods two times per day or more 
      • Dark green, orange, red, or deep yellow vegetables at least 3-4 times per week 
      • High-fat meats* less than 1 time per week or never. (* Includes ground beef that is less than 93% lean; processed meats like bacon, bologna and full-fat pork sausage; and fried and pre-fried foods like breaded/fried chicken nuggets and fish sticks)
      • Fruit juice two times per week or less
    • An example of how a teacher creates positive mealtimes using an authoritative (aka diplomatic or responsive) feeding style
    • An example family engagement resource and conversation about healthy eating
    • The section of the family handbook that states the facility’s commitment to Child Nutrition

At the end of the application, you will have the opportunity to share why supporting children’s healthy eating is important to this facility and the partners that have helped them along the way. This information is used in recognized program profiles. You may also upload a photo for this profile.


Recognized facilities receive a profile on our website as well as a yard sign, certificate, and graphics and draft language to include in social media posts or family newsletters. REACH shares facilities’ success through social media and will work with TA Consultants to look for local opportunities to celebrate recognized facilities.

Thanks to the individuals and organizations who have provided guidance on the Child Nutrition recognition application.

Thanks to Julie Sunderman, CACFP, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; Jen Kozacek (formerly with NC CACFP) and our TA Advisory Committee!

%d bloggers like this: