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Child Care Meal Quality Forums

cdss logo2023 DATES AND INFORMATION COMING SOON!

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is offering six virtual Meal Quality (MQ) Forums in March and May 2022. The forums highlight ways to enhance the nutrition environment of early child care programs through improved food preparation and service using the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns for children. The forums highlight healthy meal planning, food purchasing, food preparation, culinary skills, recipe development, and kitchen safety. Participants will be exposed to culinary techniques to assist with the creation of meals to bolster health and wellness. All attendees will receive a toolkit with a variety of resources that they can immediately utilize in child care centers and homes.

There are two types of MQ Forum opportunities:

  • The Introductory MQ Forums are intended for newer cooks who are developing their culinary, menu planning, and meal service skills.
  • The Advanced MQ Forums are intended for experienced cooks who have more advanced culinary, menu planning, and meal service skills. Participants are not required to complete the Introductory MQ Forum to register for the Advanced MQ Forum.

Table of Contents


Agenda, Cost, and Registration Links

The MQ Forums are optional training for CACFP participants.

Each three-hour virtual MQ Forum includes the following:

  • 90-minute session on the CACFP meal patterns, menu planning and recipe considerations, and the USDA Food Buying Guide tools to simplify crediting and purchasing
  • 15-minute break
  • 75-minute hands-on kitchen session

The forums are free to attend. The first 30 registrants for each forum will receive a toolkit filled with sample menus, recipes, a chef’s knife, and other resources. All attendees will receive a certificate of completion and links to online resources to enable them to engage in the virtual forums.

Use the links below to register for the virtual MQ forums:

MQ Introductory Forum: Saturday, March 5, 2022 (12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.)
MQ Advanced Forum: Saturday, March 12, 2022 (9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)
MQ Advanced Forum: Friday, May 6, 2022 (12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.)
MQ Introductory Forum: Friday, May 13, 2022 (12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.)
MQ Advanced Forum: Saturday, May 14, 2022 (9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)
MQ Advanced Forum: Saturday, May 21, 2022 (9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)


 

Session Descriptions and Speakers

Introductory MQ Forums

CACFP Meal Patterns and Menu Planning: This session will provide guidance on serving nutritious foods to preschoolers, include an overview of the CACFP meal patterns for children, provide guidance and tools to assist CACFP Operators with the requirement to credit grains as ounce equivalents (effective October 1, 2021), share considerations and tools for meal planning and purchasing to promote serving high quality meals to preschoolers, and highlight the USDA online Food Buying Guide tools that will help to simplify menu planning and crediting. All attendees will receive a toolkit with resources to help them prepare a variety of nutritious meals that meet the CACFP meal patterns. Speaker: Jennifer McNeil, RDN, SNS, LunchAssist founder and Courtney Hardoin, MS, RD, Nutrition Education Consultant, CDSS

Kitchen Experience: Get ready to have fun as you learn new culinary skills! This interactive session will provide guidance on food safety and working safely in the kitchen, and will highlight beginning knife skills, such as cutting herbs and produce, in a virtual culinary activity. All attendees will receive a toolkit with produce safety resources and tools to assist with the culinary skills activities. Session led by Kristine Smith, MS, RD, Senior Director of Nutrition Services at Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA and Professor of Food Service Management and Quantity Foods courses at Point Loma Nazarene University

Advanced MQ Forums

CACFP Meal Patterns and Recipes: This session will provide a brief overview on the CACFP meal patterns; present key techniques to reading, standardizing, and crediting recipes; showcase how to incorporate cultural food profiles into menus; provide guidance to assist CACFP Operators with the requirement to credit grains as ounce equivalents (effective October 1, 2021); and highlight the USDA online Food Buying Guide tools that will help to simplify menu planning and crediting. All attendees will receive a toolkit with resources to help them prepare a variety of nutritious meals that meet the CACFP meal patterns. Speakers: Jennifer McNeil, RDN, SNS, LunchAssist founder and Courtney Hardoin, MS, RD, Nutrition Education Consultant, CDSS

Kitchen Time and Reflection: Calling all cooks! This interactive session will provide guidance on food safety and working safely in the kitchen, and will guide participants virtually through a hands-on cooking class where participants can prepare a USDA-developed standardized recipe from scratch, with an emphasis on working smarter, not harder, in the kitchen. All attendees will receive a toolkit with produce safety resources and tools to assist with the culinary skills activities. Session led by Kristine Smith, MS, RD, Senior Director of Nutrition Services at Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA and Professor of Food Service Management and Quantity Foods courses at Point Loma Nazarene University


Target Audience

Making changes and improving the meals served at a child care site requires a team effort; therefore, all staff contributing to menu development, preparation, and service of the child care program are welcome!


Recommendations to Optimize Experience

Venue: Consider whether you will have access to a kitchen. If so, we encourage you to have the ingredients and kitchen tools required for the culinary skills session (Introductory MQ Forum) or recipe development session (Advanced MQ Forum). We will provide registrants with a list of ingredients and tools by email after the registration process is complete.

Clothing: If you are planning to actively participate in the culinary session, please wear comfortable clothing and nonslip shoes to ensure safety in the kitchen.

Technology: If you are viewing the MQ Forum as an individual, please have access to a desktop or laptop computer, smart phone, or tablet.

All participants must have Internet access and should download/install Zoom on their device a minimum of 15 minutes before the training to ensure the platform works correctly. Please contact Maria Lazaro (listed in the Contact Information section below) for help with the Zoom platform.

Engagement: The MQ Forums are an interactive training where presenters encourage involvement through polling, chats, break-out rooms, and an open discussion. Questions and comments are highly encouraged throughout the MQ Forums. We encourage participants to cook-along but there is also the option to simply watch and practice culinary skills on your own time.

Time: The MQ Forums are live and must be watched during the scheduled date and time. They are not available later as recorded webinars.


Professional Growth Hours and Certificate

The MQ Forums offer 3.0 professional growth hours which can help child care staff reach their professional development goals and help teachers renew their Child Development Teacher Permit, required for Title V programs. A certificate of completion will be available upon completion of the MQ Forum.


Contact Information

For help with registration or the Zoom platform, to cancel an existing registration, or for inquiries about the wait list for the MQ Forums, contact Maria Lazaro, WestEd Project Coordinator, by email at mlazaro@wested.org, or by phone at 805-465-4464 or 800-770-6339.

For questions about the content in the MQ Forums, contact Courtney Hardoin, CDSS Nutrition Education Consultant, by email at courtney.hardoin@dss.ca.gov.