“Illinois Action for Children helps me maintain quality services for parents and helps me give children the skills they need to advance and achieve more in education and in life.” — LaTonia

Healthy Food Program

Healthy Food Program

A healthy meal is a start towards a bright future.

The Healthy Food Program provides support for child care providers so they can serve nutritious meals to the children in their care and stretch their food dollars.

The program's friendly staff will provide you with all the training materials, nutritional education, sample menus and easy recipe ideas needed to be successful. You choose from your own fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, cereals, rice, pasta and other grains - and prepare them as you wish. We will reimburse you for much of your food costs.


Eligible home child care providers include:

  • Providers licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
  • License-exempt providers receiving Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) funds from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).
    • Child care must take place in the provider's own home.
    • One child in your care must live outside of the provider's own home.


The main responsibilities of participating child care providers include the following:

  • Providers are responsible for serving meals and snacks that meet USDA requirements. Illinois Action for Children staff will familiarize you with these requirements and help you get started.
  • Providers need to keep daily records of which children are present for which meals, and what foods are served at each meal. This information is submitted on a monthly basis to Illinois Action for Children in order to claim reimbursement.
  • Providers will receive support visits at their homes from Illinois Action for Children's Child Nutrition Advocates about 3 times a year to review program requirements, provide additional training and help with any issues or questions that arise.


There are several factors that determine the amount the provider will receive. There are two levels of reimbursement (called tiers). The amount received will depend on the 1) the reimbursement level for which a provider is eligible, 2) the number of children the provider cares for, and 3) the number and type of meals a provider serves throughout the month.

Rates of Reimbursement (rates apply July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016)

  Breakfast Lunch/Supper Snack
Tier 1 $1.32 $2.48 $0.74
Tier 2 $0.48 $1.50 $0.20

Tarifas de Reembolso

  Desayuno Almuerzo/Cena Merienda
Nivel I $1.32 $2.48 $0.74
Nivel II $0.48 $1.50 $0.20

A maximum of 2 meals and 1 snack, or 2 snacks and 1 meal can be claimed for each child each day. Reimbursement example: A provider that is eligible for Tier I reimbursement rates who serves the children in her care lunch, dinner and a snack would be reimbursed over $5.00 per child per day. If he/she cares for 3 children, 21 days a month, the provider would receive $320.00 for that month to help cover the cost of serving nutritious meals to the children. (Remember this is just an example. Each situation will be different.)


If you are a home child care provider who is interested in providing the best possible foods for a healthy future for the children in your care, please contact Illinois Action for Children's Healthy Food Program today! To find out more about the Healthy Food Program please call 773.564.8861 or email healthyfood[at]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in any program or activity conducted or funded by the USDA.

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632 - 9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter by mail to the USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136(Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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