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Requirements re: food and drink

Meals and feeding for infants or for children with special dietary or feeding arrangements are to be carried out in accordance with the written instructions of a parent of the child.

All food or drink must be stored and served so as to retain maximum nutritive value and prevent contamination.

Contact your local Public Health Unit for more information on food handling and storage practices.

Parent-supplied food and/or drink must be labelled with the child's name.

Child care centres are required to provide a prepared lunch for every child one year or older who is present at meal time, unless otherwise approved by a ministry director in the case of kindergarten groups or older. If a child receives care for six hours or more, they must be provided with two snacks in addition to any meals provided. All meals, snacks, and beverages provided must meet requirements set out in Health Canada documents “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide”, “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide – First Nations, Inuit, and Metis” or “Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants” where applicable.

Drinking water must be available at all times.

Post planned menus in a place that is visible to parents for the current and following week. Any substitutions must be noted on the posted menus. Menus must be kept for 30 days after the last day for which they are applicable.

In the cooking and serving areas, in each play area or play room and in any other area in which children may be present post a list of all children enrolled who have allergies and restrictions and their respective allergies and restrictions.

Kitchen with posted menu highlighted


Sections 42 and 43 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General


List of Allergies and Intolerances


In addition to the health and nutritional importance of meal and snack times, consider ways to capitalize on these times as an opportunity for making connections with children and building relationships.

  • How can your program support children’s sense of belonging, well-being, engagement and expression at meal and snack times?
  • How can your program provide a flexible context that respects children’s choices and needs?
  • How can mealtime encourage children’s sense of competence and independence?
  • How can your program support children’s ability to self-regulate and make healthy food choices?