Food is something so normal and basic that a lot of times it is not given a lot of thought. What do we eat during the day? What should we eat? How should we consume the nutrients that our body needs? These are all rather normal questions but a lot of times they are only asked and answered when it comes to dieting and loosing weight. In a daycare these questions have a different meaning and most of the times have nothing to do with weight loss but a lot to do with how to raise healthy and active children.
One of the most important goals of a daycare is to provide care that enables children to develop to their fullest potential. Food is the engine for that process and it is very important that children learn about healthy foods and consume healthy choices during the day. I am planning my weekly menu on Friday nights and go shopping Saturday morning with my menu items on the shopping list.
It is easier to make conscious decisions about the meals and it is more economical to plan ahead than to go out without menu planning. My daily menu consists of two snacks and two meals, as per FDA recommendations. I try to plan my menus as cycle menus. This means that ingredients are introduced and repeated every three to four weeks. Children need to be exposed to a variety of foods repeatedly over time. In a cycle menu new ingredients are mixed with well-known and liked foods in order for children to receive the nutrition they need (well-known foods) while exploring new ingredients.
My daycare is also part of a food program.
The name of the program is Child Development & Nutrition Inc. and they are located in Lakeville, MA. Please, feel free to check out their website for more information http://child-development-health-nutrition.com. They provide me with training about nutrition and healthy eating habits as well as reimbursing me part of my food cost by distributing state funds to daycare providers. Also, Child Development & Nutrition will make sure that I follow the USDA guidelines for healthy nutrition and that my menus are planned correctly including all food groups and enough fluids.
I love to cook and your child(ren) will receive home-cooked, well planned and nutritious meals every day at Tiger and Bear – A Family Childcare.
Cooking for me is fun and it great way to spend my time. I also love to try new recipes and new ingredients and try to incorporate as many fresh ingredients as I can. Also, I am trying to limit the amount of processed foods and foods that are genetically modified, although especially the former is very hard as labeling is not required in Massachusetts. During several days the week the children will be involved in the planning and preparation of the meals. Food is so much more exciting when you know how to make it and what is in it. And, from my experience, children love trying different and new things when they feel involved.