Weekly snack menus are posted for parents in the classroom and at the bulletin board by the front door. 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 must be informed of children's allergies and special food requirements so that reasonable accommodations can be made. See Special Diet Statement form for allergic reactions and precautions.
Parents must send a lunch with their child each day. All lunches must be labeled with the child’s name. An ice pack may be included in the lunch bag to keep foods cold, and are 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:
Four items to put in your child's lunch:
- DAIRY 1/2 cup for 1-to-2 years old, 3/4 cup for 3-to-5 years old. Dairy milk for lunch is supplied by the center. Try cheese or yogurt, reduced-fat cheese slices or cubes.
- 2 VEGETABLES, or 2 FRUITS, or combination of both. 1/4 cup total for 1-to-2 years old, 1/2 cup total for 3-to-5 years old. Try vegetable sticks with dips, or a small container with mixed vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery, corn, snow peas, or cucumbers.
- GRAINS/BREADS 1/2 slice for 1-to-5 years old. Starch: 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.
- MEAT OR MEAT-ALTERNATE 1 to 1½ oz. meat, poultry, or fish. Also try 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. Yogurt may be served as a meat-alternate. Instead of yogurt loaded with sugar and food coloring, give your child a dose of plain yogurt known to enhance digestion of other foods, with a little honey, known to have antibiotic qualities.
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 sugar, low fiber, and cause tooth decay.
- NO seeds, popcorn, nuts, hard pretzels, and marshmallows.
- Large chunks of meat, ½ inch or larger, must be cut into small pieces.
- Hot dogs (whole or sliced rounds), sausage, toddler meat sticks, and other circular/disc-shaped foods, must be cut lengthwise, then sliced.
- Cherry/grape tomatoes and grapes must be cut into fourths.
- Raw carrots must be cooked until tender.
- Spoonful of peanut butter must be spread on food, not thick gob as it may catch in the throat.
Treats from home for special occasions and birthdays are welcome, but they must be store-bought and we ask that you consider nutritious and low-sugar treats. If you are planning to bring a special treat, let your child's teacher know at least a day in advance so a menu adjustment can be made. We have a number of children with specific diet restrictions (i.e. gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free); many parents may prefer to limit their child’s sugar intake. You are welcome to celebrate in the classroom, but we want to ensure there are options for all children should you choose to bring food items.