University of Massachusetts Amherst

It's MORE Than A Meal


Nutrition Resource Manual


This resource manual is designed to promote good nutrition for older adults in adult day health programs. Because your participants consume many of their weekly meals and snacks in your setting, you have a unique opportunity to contribute to their nutritional well-being and their caregivers’ knowledge of good nutrition.

Recent trends show that more Americans than ever are living longer lives. Many older adults live on their own, with a spouse, or as members of extended families. Preventive health can help maintain their independence and quality of life. Good nutrition is an important part of preventive health.

As you expand your knowledge about nutrition and health, meal planning, food safety, cultural issues, and educational resources, you can play a greater role in promoting your participants’ health. Also, as you learn more about implementing Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines for meal reimbursement, you can help keep costs down while serving healthful foods.


In 2002, the Massachusetts Department of Education contracted with the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program to assess nutrition and food safety education needs of adult day health programs participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). They conducted surveys to identify the nutrition and health needs of older adults attending these programs, as well as the educational needs of staff and caregivers.

This manual was developed to address the needs identified in the surveys. It builds on What’s in a Meal? A Resource Manual for Providing Nutritious Meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The original manual was developed in 1994 by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Midwest Region. The fourth edition was released in 2003 and was reproduced by the National Food Service Management Institute.

It’s MORE than a Meal includes the topics from the 2003 edition of the USDA manual. Some content has been edited to highlight CACFP guidelines for older adults. Other content has been updated to reflect recent recommendations for nutrition and physical activity from the U.S. Government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines and USDA Pyramid.

It’s MORE than a Meal also covers other topics not found in the USDA manual. These include: facts about CACFP; nutrition and older adults; healthful snacks; food safety issues for older adults; culturally sensitive interactions; physical activity and older adults; resources for adult day health programs; and fact sheets for older adults and caregivers.


Developed for the Massachusetts Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program by the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Permission is hereby granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education to copy any or all parts of this document for non-commercial educational purposes. The Massachusetts Department of Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.