Food & Nutrition

Produce from my garden

I work hard to prepare meals and snacks that are fun and appealing to children, as well as being wholesome and nutritious. I serve whole, real, minimally processed foods, preferably organic and locally produced, so you can be assured that your children are being fed well while in my care. Children love to help in the garden and with meal preparation and I get them involved as much as possible. I’ve posted some sample menus here.

I serve the following meals. (Times are approximate.)

  • Breakfast between 8 am and 9am, and/or morning snack if needed
  • Lunch between noon and 1pm
  • Afternoon snack between 2:30pm and 3:30pm

Parents provide infant formula or breast milk, and may provide baby food also, but it’s not required. I prepare baby food using the same kinds of wholesome foods I use for the older children, introducing new foods according to the parents’ instructions.

More specifics about the types of food I use:

Grains
I use a variety of whole grains and whole grain products: Whole wheat bread, whole grain crackers, whole grain unsweetened cereal, brown rice, quinoa, barley, rolled oats, popcorn, etc.

Dairy
Real cheese: no processed cheese or cheese food. Whole or 2% hormone-free milk. Plain whole milk yogurt.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs
Beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs, locally produced as much as possible. I avoid processed meats, but occasionally serve uncured hot dogs, bacon, or pepperoni. Fish may be canned, fresh, or frozen, tuna being the most common type of fish we eat.

Nuts, seed, legumes
(Note: nuts are used only if no one in the group has an allergy)
Peanut butter, almond butter, almond flour, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soy beans, other beans, nuts (if age appropriate)

Fruits & Vegetable
Most often I use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, organic as much as possible, eaten raw or cooked in a manner that helps preserve nutrient content (steaming and stir frying being my most common cooking methods). I also use canned vegetables and fruit (in juice, not syrup) and dried fruit such as raisins.

Fats and oils
Butter and extra virgin olive oil are the most common fats/oils I use for cooking.

Beverages
Milk and water are the predominant beverages I serve. I do not use any sweetened beverages, soda pop, koolaid, or similar things.

Snack food
I rarely use any foods commonly thought of as snack foods (potato chips, etc.). I don’t serve artificially sweetened products. Snacks generally consist of a protein and grain, fruits or vegetables, but can vary. On occasion we may make cookies or some other treat, but these will be eaten along with other non-sugary foods for balance. Popcorn may be served on occasion (if age-appropriate). I make popcorn in the microwave or popcorn popper using loose popcorn and olive oil.

Other foods
I can’t possibly list every food item I might use, but other foods may include various seasonings, condiments (ketchup, mustard, jam, etc.), almond or coconut milk. I rarely use sugar or any sweetener, but honey (if age appropriate), stevia, maple syrup, and sugar may be used on occasion.

About food allergies
I am allergic to wheat, so I understand about allergies and how to prepare meals to accommodate them. Allergy information is included in the child enrollment process.

USDA Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
I follow the CACFP guidelines as a basic framework for meal planning. These guidelines can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/care/ProgramBasics/Meals/Meal_Patterns.htm)

Please let me know if you have questions about any of these things or if I have omitted information that would be helpful to you.





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