As a daycare provider, we are also responsible to provide healthy daycare meal supplies. In fact, children are the period where they need proper nutritional intake to support their development. Healthy meals that we provide are the basic of a child’s growth. Since we are taking the responsibility from the child’s parents then we are the one who should give the best food for children. Some problem may arise for children commonly like a certain type of food. This is a part of our job to make children feel happy to eat nutritious food. To make it real, we have to provide various foods to deal with picky eaters. Commonly, daycare is not only providing breakfast or lunch but also snack for children in daily basis. We have to serve the kind of foods that already fulfilled the federal state requirement. It means that we cannot serve the daycare meal supplies that popular and loved by children to make them feel comfortable but also encourage them to eat various healthy meal supplies. Setting a proper dietary plan will be useful to make sure that we already arrange the menu that fulfilled all children nutritional needs. A good diet will promote children growth and build their healthy lifestyle in the future. Automatically, proper daycare meal supplies have an important contribution toward children achievement of their development and learning progress.
Basically, daycare provides breakfast, lunch and snack in the afternoon. Commonly, daycare meal supplies for children will consist of various ingredients like meat and other substitute of meat. The meat substitutes are grain, bread, fruit, vegetables and milk. The kind of menu in our meal plan should consist of nutrition that needed by children. The nutrition itself will consist of carbohydrates, fat, protein and calories. For calories, the needed amount will be vary depend on children age and activity level. In a week, daycare should not provide more than 35 percent of calories from fat. It is also should not more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. Safe daycare meal supplies must limit the usage of sugar and salt in their meal. While food that contain fibre is advices. To avoid children illness, we are better to provide whole grain. In fact, it is not an easy job for children commonly love flour, sweet and tasty product. To gain better health, daycare meal supplies should provide at least more than 2 whole grains on each week in the breakfast time. One whole grain more during the snacking time will make it more perfect.
Other healthy kind of daycare meal supplies is providing various fruit and vegetables. Fruit maybe no problem but vegetables? Most children will refuse to eat it. The key is to make the food as attractive as possible for children. To make it more attractive, we can chose fruit and vegetables that have various colors. There is also a secret to find healthy fruit and veggies. We suggest to choose the dark green vegetables leaves, beans and orange vegetables. It can be served with a raw or steam. Do not forget about the juice. Be sure that we are providing 100 percent of fruit juice because most available in the market is not a real one but already enriched with sweetener. Our daycare meal supplies also need to include milk products in our list. Milk is important for child’s bones and teeth building. It is even recommended that children in 2 up to 8 should drink at least 2 cups of low fat milk each day. Milk will be great to be put as our breakfast and lunch daycare meal supplies. Other type of milk product like cheese and low fat yoghurt will also be perfect for daycare snacking time.
As a daycare provider, we are not only thinking about daycare meal menu but also maintaining children’s health. Children with allergy may cause a problem for us. That is why we should have great communication with each parent to gain information whether the children under supervision have such kind of allergies. From this information, we can set daycare meal supplies that properly match with their need. Children with allergy have more sensitive digestion and immune system. It will need more effort than just keeping our storage and utensils free from any bacteria but also creating a menu that will avoid any allergic reaction and fulfilled their nutritional intake at the same time. Back to the menu planning, rotation on food menu will be needed to avoid children boredom. The menu itself should be differentiated based on children age. Basically, the categorization of daycare meal supplies menu should consist of infants and toddler under 2 years old, 3 to 5 and more than 5. However, daycare meal supplies were maintained will consist of several aspects like ingredient choosing, food storage sanitation, kitchen and feeding utensil cleaning and complete nutritional menu.