Section 407.330 Nutrition and Meal Service


a) Food shall be cooked or prepared at the day care center in a kitchen which has been inspected and approved in accordance with the Illinois Department of Public Health's Food Service Sanitation Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 750), unless the partially exempt program is exempt per Section 2.09(a)(ii) of the Child Care Act, or food may be purchased from a licensed catering service. Preparation of food, whether on or off site, shall comply with the Food Service Sanitation Code. A copy of these regulations shall be available to appropriate staff.


b) Food service shall be under the management of a State-certified food service manager as required by the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act [410 ILCS 625].


c) None of the operations connected with routine food preparation shall be conducted in a room used for sleeping, caregiving or laundry purposes.


d) Kitchen areas shall be clean and equipped for preservation, storage, preparation and serving of food.


e) Provisions shall be made for the cleaning and sanitization of dishes.


f) All food consumed by children under the supervision of the child care center shall be provided by the center, except as follows:


1) Parents may provide food for infants not yet consuming table food or for any child requiring a special diet that cannot reasonably be provided by the center.


2) Upon agreement of the staff, commercially prepared foods may be brought in occasionally by parents as part of holiday or birthday celebrations. Food brought in for this purpose must arrive unopened as packaged by the bakery or manufacturer, or it shall not be accepted.


3) If food is to be catered rather than prepared at the center, a dated contract with the catering service specifying the number of food orders to be delivered shall be available for review.


g) Menus shall be planned at least one week in advance and shall be available for review. If substitutions are made for any food item, menus shall be corrected to reflect meals as served. Substitutions shall be nutritionally equal to the food items being replaced. Corrected menus shall be on file and available for review for one year after the meals were served.


1) Menus shall be posted in the kitchen, the classroom or other area accessible to parents, and made available to parents upon request.


2) Menu planning shall reflect consideration for cultural and ethnic patterns, and menus shall be nutritionally equivalent to the requirements of the Meal Pattern Chart in Appendix D and Appendix E, as appropriate.


3) From the months of October through May, the main meal shall be a hot meal, with occasional exceptions of no more than twice per month. During the months of June through September, a hot or a cold meal conforming to the Meal Pattern Chart (see Appendix E) shall be served.


4) Lunches served during field trips shall be provided by the center or purchased from a food vendor.


h) Adequate and appropriate food shall be served according to the amount of time the child spends at the center. The center shall provide ⅓ to ⅔ of the child's daily nutrient needs depending on length of stay, as outlined in the chart below. These nutrient needs are based on the current recommended dietary allowances set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council and are outlined in Appendix D and Appendix E.


Time Present Per Day


Number of Meals and Snacks Per Day

Two to five hours


One snack

Five to ten hours


One meal and two snacks or

two meals and one snack

More than ten hours


Two meals and two snacks or

one meal and three snacks


i) Children shall be offered food at intervals of not less than 2 hours and not more than 3 hours apart, unless the child is asleep.


j) Provisions of this Section notwithstanding, a child requiring a special diet due to medical reasons, allergic reactions or religious beliefs shall be provided with meals and snacks according to the written instructions of the child's parents, clergy and/or the child's medical provider.


1) Information on special diets shall be obtained in writing from the parents and/or medical providers and maintained on file at the child care center.


2) Records of food intake shall be maintained when indicated by the child's medical provider.


3) When providing a special diet causes undue hardship or expense for the child care center, meals or portions of meals shall be provided by the parent upon written agreement of the parent and the center. The parent shall be responsible for the safety of food brought into the center.


4) Potentially hazardous and perishable food shall be refrigerated immediately upon arrival.


5) Special foods provided by parents shall be clearly labeled with the child's name, date and identity of the food and shall not be shared by other children.


k) Meals and snacks for children one year of age and older shall comply with the requirements of Appendix E. Meals shall be prepared so as to moderate fat and sodium content. Limit salty snack foods, such as pretzels or chips.


1) Meal components are as follows:


A) Milk: Grade A, pasteurized, fortified, fluid milk. Because low-fat and skim milks may not provide adequate levels of calories and fatty acids, these milks shall not be given to children under 2 years of age unless recommended in writing by the child's medical provider. Only milk with a fat content of 1 percent or less may be given to children over 2 years of age, unless recommended in writing by the child's medical provider.


B) Meat or meat alternative: Edible protein such as meat, fish or chicken or other protein sources such as eggs, cheese, dried beans or peas. A casserole or mixed dish must contain the required amount of protein per serving.


C) Fruits and vegetables: Cooked or raw. Each child shall have a total of 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables for lunch. A good source of vitamin C shall be served daily. These include citrus fruits, melons and other fruits and juices that contain at least 30 mg of vitamin C per serving.


D) Bread or bread alternative: An equivalent serving of cornbread, biscuits, rolls, muffins, bagels or tortillas made of enriched or whole grain meal or flour may be substituted for sliced bread. Bread alternatives include enriched rice, macaroni, noodles, pasta, stuffing, crackers, bread sticks, dumplings, pancakes, waffles and hot or cold cereal.


E) Butter or margarine: As a spread for bread, if desired. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, safflower oil) and soft margarines; avoid trans fats, saturated fats and fried foods.


F) Beverages with added sweeteners, whether natural or artificial, shall not be provided to children.


G) Children shall be offered water to rinse their mouths after snacks and meals when tooth brushing is not possible.


2) If any part of the nutritional requirements is designated as dessert, it shall be served as an integral part of the meal. Ice cream or milk-based pudding may be used occasionally. Cake, pastries, cookies or other foods with high sugar and/or fat content shall not be served to children enrolled in the day care program.


3) Vegetarian meals that meet protein requirements may be served. The main dish shall contain one or more of the following: cheese, eggs, legumes, or peanut butter.


4) Foods that cause choking shall not be served to children under 2 years of age as noted in Section 407.210(f)(19). Hot dogs and raw carrots may be served to children between 2 and 3 years of age only if cut into short, thin strips. Peanut butter shall only be served to children between 2 and 3 years of age if thinly spread on bread, crackers, or other foods or if mixed with other foods.


5) Children shall be permitted to have one or more additional servings to meet their individual needs.


l) Food shall be prepared and handled safely.


1) Hot foods shall be maintained at a temperature of 140 F or above and cold foods at 40 F or below, except that food may be held at a temperature of 45 F for a maximum of 3 days. See Section 750.140 of the Food Service Sanitation Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 750).


2) Food returned from individual plates and family style serving bowls shall be discarded. Other unused food shall be promptly covered to avoid contamination, labeled, dated and refrigerated or frozen immediately. Leftover fresh food shall be used within 24 hours. Frozen food shall be used within 30 days.


3) Milk, formula and baby food shall be handled and served to infants who are not yet eating table food according to the provisions of Section 407.210.


m) Adequate numbers of appropriate durable dishes, glassware and eating utensils shall be provided to serve all of the children. These items shall be in good repair and free of breaks, cracks or chips. Disposable dishes and utensils may be used and shall be discarded after single use. Due to the danger of choking, disposable eating utensils shall not be used by children under 2 years of age.


n) The design and size of tables, chairs, dishes, glasses and eating utensils shall be appropriate to the ages of the children served.


o) All cooking and feeding utensils shall be washed and sanitized after each use.


p) Meals shall be relaxed and unhurried and provide time for socialization.


1) An adult shall sit at the table with the children during meal time, provide supervision and demonstrate good mealtime practices.


2) Delays in food service shall be avoided so that children do not have to sit and wait.


3) Children shall be encouraged to eat, but not forced or bribed.


4) Small portions of bite-sized pieces shall be provided for preschool children.


5) Children shall be encouraged to feed themselves. Staff shall provide supportive help for as long as the child needs such help.


6) Food shall be served onto plates or other sanitary containers.


7) Children shall be seated comfortably, with sufficient room to manage food and eating utensils.


8) School-age children may be served separately or with younger children, if this can be accomplished without disruption to the ongoing program.


q) Food shall never be used as a punishment or reward.


(Source: Amended at 38 Ill. Reg. 17293, effective August 1, 2014)