This weekend I've spent time looking at my menus. As I come to know more about good nutrition, I can't help but feel a greater responsibility to ensure I am feeding my buddies food that will set them on the path to healthy eating and a healthy life.
In a daycare setting this is far easier said than done. First of all, everyone has a different idea of healthy. My goal is to find food that will be:
I want my menus to follow these standards:
- Lunch will contain food from all four food groups
- Each snack will have a fruit or vegetable plus food from another food group
- At least 10 different foods from the fruit & vegetable food group will be served each week
- At least 1 dark green or orange vegetable or fruit will be served each day (spinach, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, apricots)
- Whole milk will be served with lunch and snacks
- A meat alternative such as eggs or peanut butter or lentils will be served once a week
- Fish will be served once a week
- Processed meat will be avoided or at least minimized (sandwich meats, hot dogs)
- Water will be available between meals and snacks
- Local produce will be served as often as is practical
- Menus will be re-evaluated and updated twice a year
- Snacks will contain at least one contrast between colour, taste, texture, shape or temperature
- At least 1/2 of the grains served will be whole grain
Needless to say, this was a huge undertaking. Especially because of #1 and 2! The healthiest food in the world is worthless if nobody eats it. I have kept some kid favourites on my menu, too. Everything in moderation! So yes, you do see tater gems, pizza, and french fries. I use regular peanut butter as well. Overall, I'm happy with my menus and I hope my buddies will be happy too!
That's it! Let me know what you think & feel free to use these menus to help you plan, too!