When you’re in the position of being a daycare provider, you’re going to need to serve snacks and meals to the children who are in your care each day. The foods that are served should be healthy while still being flavorful so that children want to eat daycare meals. The following are a few tips to consider when you’re making your weekly plan for everything from breakfast to a light snack in the afternoon.
Before you begin preparing meals, you need to make sure your hands are washed and that all of the equipment that you plan to use has been washed. Fruits and vegetables need to be cleaned to remove any wax or pesticides that are on them before they are prepared
As a daycare provider, you can make food a bit more appealing by providing a variety of textures for your children. Try to serve a combination of crunchy items, such as carrot sticks, or soft foods that are easier to chew, such as bread or pasta. Use this as a teaching opportunity by talking about the ways that each food feels and looks.
One of the details that you want to keep in mind about daycare meals is that they should be small. If children are still hungry when they have finished eating, then you can give them more food. Consider getting plates that have sections so that it’s easier to divide foods into smaller portions. Try to serve one tablespoon per year of each child’s age.
If a food isn’t received very well the first time it’s served, wait a few days before serving it again. Try to prepare it in a different way so that children still get the overall flavor of the food but with a different texture. An example would be sweet potatoes. If children don’t like the potatoes prepared in a traditional manner, such as in an oven, then consider slicing them into chips and baking them so that they are crispy. They will be fun to eat while retaining the nutrients that are in the potatoes.
Bread and pasta served should be made with whole grains as these are a healthier option for children. Examples include tortillas that can be used to make wraps, wheat bread, and oatmeal. You also want to include at least one protein with the meals that are served. However, the protein should be lean so that there isn’t a lot of fat in the meal. Any fruits and vegetables are beneficial for children and can often be used to learn about colors and shapes when children are eating.
Food served in your daycare should be healthy for children but can also be fun to eat. If children understand the importance of healthy foods, then they will likely eat some of the same things at home. With a carefully planned menu, you can serve meals that include each food group as well as a variety of colors and shapes for children to enjoy.