Sharon's Giving Tree Family Dayhome

ABC's and Apple Trees -- Loving and thoughtful care for your child

Meals and Nutrition

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

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:

  • Fruit smoothie made with pineapple, banana and coconut milk
  • Whole grain Cheerios and cubed cheddar cheese or cheese substitute 
  • Organic rice cakes and homemade organic apple butter
  • Sliced grapes and organic vanilla yoghurt or soy yoghurt substitute
  • Homemade pumpkin cookies lightly sweetened with maple syrup
  • Fresh pears and multigrain crackers
  • Homemade no-sugar fruit smoothie popsicles, nut-free seed crackers
  • Hummus and whole grain ABC pretzels.
  • Homemade apple zucchini muffin and milk or almond milk
  • Ants on a log (celery, wow butter or cream cheese, and raisins)

Typical breakfasts, served with milk or soymilk, include the following:

  • Scrambled organic eggs, whole grain buttermilk pancakes, cut up strawberries
  • Wow butter and coconut oil spread with a touch of honey on whole wheat toast with banana
  • Hempseed breakfast "cookies", blueberries
  • Cereal bar - assorted sugar-free breakfast cereals, blueberries or strawberries, hempseed or unsweetened coconut"sprinkles"
  • Hot whole grain cereal with chia seeds and raisins, apple slices
  • Homemade  nut-free granola, no-sugar canned peaches

Typical lunches, served with milk or soymilk,  include the following:
  • homemade organic oven-roasted tomato sauce, ham, pineapple and mozzarella cheese on whole wheat crust, organic spinach salad
  • Chicken noodle soup with homemade broth, carrots and celery, whole wheat toast, cucumber slices and ranch dip, melon slices
  • Baked  whole-grain breaded fish filets, peas, brown rice, apple slices, carrot sticks
  • Cheese and chicken quesadillas on whole wheat tortillas, milk, grape tomatoes, orange slices
  • Mild chili with ground beef and beans or homemade black bean soup, organic  taco chips, grated cheese, sour cream, lettuce salad, prunes

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.