Children spending a full day at my dayhome are served a minimum of 2 snacks with 2 food groups, breakfast if arriving early, and hot lunch,both meals with 4 food groups. I frequently serve extra snacks as some children are grazers by nature and children going through a growth spurt will need more frequent meals. At minimum, any child who is hungry between our scheduled eating times will be able to access water at all times, and milk, and a non-messy snack like apples or carrot sticks, upon request.
We are currently a peanut-free and tree-nut free program due to severe nut allergies. I serve a dairy -free menu to some children, although those foods are present on the table for others I will do my best to accommodate allergies on a case-by-case basis, if I feel I can do so safely..
My dayhome serves fresh, high-quality food, whole grain breads and cereals, and an increasing amount of organic and locally-grown food as well, especially fruits and vegetables. I serve lots of water and milk. I only serve juice when we make it ourselves as a cooking experience with the children, only once or twice a year. I try not to serve candy or cake on Halloween or birthdays or Valentine's Day, figuring the children will likely get that at home later on! We follow the Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating as much as possible http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index_e.html.
My dayhome menu does not include candy, chocolate, Kraft dinner, or similar boxed mac and cheese. When I serve lunch meats, they are serve nitrate-free and preservative free.
Baby food and formula will have to be supplied from home, as well as any special beverages or foods you want for your child that are different from what I usually serve.
I adapt my menu according to seasonal produce and the preferences and needs of the children in my care, but here are some examples of what I might serve:
Typical snacks include the following:
Typical breakfasts, served with milk or soymilk, include the following:
We all sit down together for meal and snack times as much as possible. They are a great opportunity to practice skills like language learning, counting, good manners, and hand-eye coordination! Children learn independence by helping me to prepare, serve, and clean up after meals, feeding themselves, learning to serve themselves and pour their own drinks, and to cut their own soft foods with a butter knife.