Weekly snack menus are posted for parent. Children are sometimes involved in preparing their own snack as part of cooking in the classroom. Substitutions to the main snack menu will be noted.
The center will serve a light morning and afternoon snack daily. The typical morning and afternoon snacks will consist of at least 2 food groups such as: milk, fresh fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and protein.
No items containing more than 6g of sugar per serving will be served.
Teachers need to be informed of children's allergies and special food requirements so that reasonable accommodations can be made.
Parents need to send a lunch with their child each day.
All lunches must be labeled with the child’s name. An ice pack must be included in the lunch bag to keep foods cold, or foods that need refrigeration can be removed from the lunch box, labeled, and placed in the center refrigerator.
Children are not allowed to share lunches, as some children may have specific dietary requirements.
Lunchtime provides teachers the opportunity to naturally converse about good nutrition and healthy eating habits. Children are allowed to choose the order in which they eat their foods, including desserts, and to determine how much they want to eat. The teachers will encourage the children to eat a good portion of their lunch; however, will not force them to eat everything.
A healthy lunch has the nutrients and energy children need to grow, learn and play. It usually provides 1/3 of the nutrients and calories children need each day. Although it can sometimes be difficult to decide which foods are healthy choices, there are endless food choices available for lunch boxes. Points to consider in planning a packed lunch:
Five items to put in a lunch:
- Vegetables - Try vegetable sticks with dips, or a small container with mixed vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery, corn, snow peas, or cucumbers.
- Fresh fruit
- Dairy food— Dairy milk for lunch is supplied by the center. Cheese or yogurt, Reduced fat cheese slices or cubes
- Yogurt with honey – Rather than going for the yogurt loaded with sugar and food coloring, give your child a dose of plain yogurt, known to enhance the digestion of other foods, with a little honey, known to have antibiotic qualities.
- Protein food/Sandwiches - hard-boiled egg, beans, salmon or tuna in spring water, Falafel or lentil patties, Hummus, Sliced lean cold meats such as ham, turkey, chicken, or beef, Baked beans or bean salad, peanut butter.
- Starch food-bread, roll, pita or flat bread, fruit bread or crackers. Include a variety of bread and fillings, especially if children begin to lose interest in sandwiches. Include grainy bread or rolls, flat bread, buns, bagels, pita bread and tortillas.
Common Choking Hazards for children under four
Foods that are a choking hazard will not be served.
- No dried fruit. Dried fruit bars and ‘straps’ are very high in sugar, low in fiber and stick to children’s teeth causing tooth decay
- Hot dogs (whole or sliced in rounds), sausage, toddler meet sticks. Must be cut lengthwise in fourths then sliced.
- Large chunks of meat (1/2 inch or larger). Needs to be cut into small pieces.
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes must be cut into fourths.
- Spoonful of Peanut Butter.
- Raw Carrots. Please cook until tender.
- Grapes must be cut into fourths.
- No seeds, popcorn, nuts, hard pretzels, and marshmallows.
Treats from home for special occasions such as birthdays, are welcome, however they must be store bought and we ask that you please consider treats that are nutritious and low in sugar. If you are planning to bring a special treat, please let your child's teacher know at least a day in advance so a menu adjustment can be made. We have an increasingly large number of children with specific diet restrictions, and many parents who would prefer to limit sugar intake for their children. You are welcome to celebrate in the classroom, but we want to ensure we have options for all children should you choose to bring in food items.