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Child Care Meal Quality Forums

cde logoThe California Department of Education (CDE) is offering free virtual Meal Quality (MQ) Forums from April through June 2021. 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 CDE will host two identical Introductory MQ Forums, as listed in the Agenda and Registration Links section below.
  • The Advanced MQ Forums are intended for experienced cooks who have more advanced culinary, menu planning, and meal service skills. The CDE will host two identical Advanced MQ Forums, as listed in the Agenda and Registration Links section below.

Table of Contents


Agenda and Registration Links

The MQ Forums are an optional training for CACFP participants. Each 3-hour MQ Forum includes a:

  • 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 registration process will require registrants to provide a mailing address so a toolkit can be mailed to each registrant that will support learning at the MQ Forums.

Registration is limited to CACFP participants and space is limited to the first 30 registrants. All registrants will receive a link to access the MQ Forum and additional information about the MQ Forums by email after the registration process is complete.

Introductory MQ Forums (Forums are identical. Register for one date only.)

Date Time Registration Link
Saturday, April 24, 2021   9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Register here https://intromqforum2021.eventbrite.com
Wednesday, May 12, 2021  1:00–4:00 p.m. 

 

Advanced MQ Forums (Forums are identical. Register for one date only.)

Date Time Registration Link
Wednesday, May 19, 2021   1:00–4:00 p.m. 

Register here 
https://advancedmqforums2021.eventbrite.com

Saturday, June 5, 2021  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. Speakers: Jennifer McNeil, RDN, SNS, LunchAssist founder and Courtney Hardoin, MS, RD, Nutrition Education Consultant, California Department of Education

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. Chef: Kristine Smith, MS, RD, Senior Director of Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA

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, California Department of Education

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. Chef: Kristine Smith, MS, RD, Senior Director of Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA

 

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 with our chef, 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 3.5 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, CDE Nutrition Education Consultant, by email at chardoin@cde.ca.gov.