Join the Food Program
For Child Care Centers


  • Must be state or locally licensed
  • Nonprofit child care centers must be a 501(c)(3) approved organization
  • For-profit child care centers must have 25% or more of enrolled children eligible for free or reduced-price meals

Meals and Reimbursements

Nutrition Works provides a monetary reimbursement for serving meals to enrolled participants that meet federal nutritional guidelines, outlined in the Food Program meal pattern. Reimbursement rates are determined by the USDA each year and followed by all Food Program sponsors. Meal reimbursements are calculated based on a formula for the number of children you feed at a given meal. The three different meals are defined as Breakfast, Lunch/Supper, and Snack. Reimbursement rates vary based on several factors including the type of meal served and whether you run a home child care or a center. Child care Food Program providers must submit a claim each month that will be processed and approved by Nutrition Works. Reimbursements are distributed on a monthly basis on the 3rd Friday of the month provided that the child care home or child care center has submitted their claim for the previous month by the 3rd day of the following month. For example, a February claim must be submitted by March 3rd. The check will then be mailed or direct deposited on the 3rd Friday of March.

Participating Child Care Centers:

  • Receive reimbursements for meals served to enrolled children
  • May be reimbursed for up to two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal for each enrolled child per day
  • A child care center that has 50% free and reduced eligible children and 50 total children enrolled who serves Breakfast, Lunch, and a Snack daily could expect to receive around $1,500 in reimbursement each month. Please call the Nutrition Works office at (208) 336-5533, extension 6540 to discuss what your monthly reimbursement rate might look like.

Reimbursement Rates for Child Care Centers
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Meal Free Reduced Paid
Breakfast $1.75 $1.45 $0.30
Snack $0.88 $0.44 $0.08
Lunch or Supper $3.23 $2.83 $0.31



What You Can Expect from Us
  • An experienced and caring staff to support you. Staff have worked in child care, early education, business, health, and/or nutrition. Please contact us with your questions or concerns!
  • Monthly reimbursement for up to 2 meals and 1 snack or 2 snacks and 1 meal for each enrolled child each day (paid by direct deposit or a mailed check)
  • Minute Menu recordkeeping software that you can access online on your computer or electronic device to manage records such as meal counts and attendance
  • Regular newsletters and an annual training to stay updated on the program, nutrition issues, recipes, child development, and other best practices
  • Nutrition education materials
What We Expect from You
  • Creditable meals: Serve foods according to the Food Program meal pattern guidelines (requires serving meal components in portion sizes appropriate to the child’s age)
  • Daily recordkeeping: Record attendance at the time of arrival and departure and meals daily by end of day or at meal service time using provided Minute Menu online recordkeeping system
  • Annual training: Complete a minimum two-hour nutrition training each fiscal year
  • Civil Rights: Provide CACFP benefits to children (infant through twelve years of age) without regard to race, color, sex, handicap or national origin

Steps to Food Program Participation in Idaho

We want you to be as successful as possible as a participant on the Food Program. Getting started is easy!

  • Call or email us to complete an application and learn more about the child care Food Program in Idaho.
  • Complete an Income Eligibility Study to determine whether your child care center is eligible to participate.
  • Download our Minute Menu recordkeeping system.
  • Participate in a pre-approval site visit and orientation with your Food Program Reviewer.
  • Your Food Program Reviewer approves your official start date and you can begin claiming meals!


Q: Why should I enroll with the Food Program?
A: You and the children in your care both benefit! The children eat nutritious meals and snacks in a healthy environment. You receive monetary reimbursement for serving those nutritious meals and snacks. In addition you get nutrition education and training each year that can be applied for IdahoSTARS PDS credit and toward your annual license training requirements.

Q: Why should I choose Nutrition Works as my Idaho Food Program sponsor?
A: Nutrition Works has been an Idaho Food Program sponsor for over 20 years. Our staff are experienced in child care, early education, business, health, and/or nutrition and are here to support you by answering your questions and concerns about the Food Program. Some of us have been in your shoes running child care sites while participating in the Food Program! Along with our experienced team, we’ll provide you with resources throughout the year—newsletters, technical assistance during site visits, and training. Other resources providers have received include cookbooks, child-sized cups and pitchers, nutrition-related games, toys, and storybooks, nutrition education curriculums, measuring cups, books, and more. We are here to help you succeed!

Q: Can I participate in the Food Program if I don’t have a child care license?
A: No. Whether you provide child care in your home or a center, a license is required.