Family Style Meals

Family style dining in early childhood programs is when children and teachers sit together at a table for a meal or snack. It helps children make healthy food choices by seeing positive attitudes from teachers and peers. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) recognizes family style dining as a meal service option.

With this type of meal service, teachers can model and develop key concepts for children, including:

  • Opportunities to try new foods and politely decline food they have tasted and don't enjoy yet
  • Understanding appropriate use of utensils
  • Assistance with setting and cleaning the table after the meal

Other benefits include improved motor skills and self-confidence, expanded social skills, and practice using proper table manners. Explore the resources below to learn more about this meal service option.