Los Angeles Times
By Mary MacVean
June 8, 2009
The Assembly has passed a bill to set minimum standards for food in licensed child-care centers, requiring a vegetable to be part of lunch and supper and forbidding whole milk for children 2 or older.
The food children eat in kindergarten through 12th grade in public school is regulated for fat and salt content, among other things. But for many preschool children, there have been no such dietary rules.
In Los Angeles County, 350,000 children 5 and younger spend at least a part of their day in child care. The county licenses 2,230 child-care centers and about 7,800 family child-care homes.
Programs such as Head Start make nutrition a priority, and child-care centers that receive federal money -- less than half the centers, according to Sharp's organization -- have some obligations to serve healthful food. But in private day-care centers, there is a wide range of food served, Sharp said.
Dennis, who was on a committee to consider the guidelines, said the law would not require providers to spend more but might require imagination. "It's about making healthy choices and about learning how to shop," she said Friday.