Daycare Menus

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The mere thoughts of formulating daycare menus can send the most sane, intelligent day care operator into a tailspin as they contemplate food pyramids and daily nutritional requirements and all thoughts of common sense go out the window.  There is no need for panic when the steps involved are as simple as ensuring that the food is nutritious, prepared hygienically and easy to cook in large quantities.

 

Healthy, easy to prepare, well rounded meals are the key.  Your mom and grandma could probably give you some tips on one pot meals that would be ideal for your daycare menus.  Keep it simple and stop thinking that you need to transform yourself into Jamie Oliver.  The range of options available is huge and can include thick soups, steamed vegetables, stews, casseroles, pasta, fish and seasonal fruit.  Cheese, crackers, rice cakes, raisins, carrot sticks, sandwiches and yogurts make great snacks. 

 

Personally, I don't provide food at my day care (in Ireland – this may not be an option in your region so check the regulations) and parents send in all snacks plus a meal which we reheat and serve to the kids.  Another option to consider is ordering pre-prepared, frozen meals and heating on the premises.  Some companies specialize in providing this service to day cares and deliver to your freezer. This will add to your costs but you could have parents pay for this service.

 

Food preparation necessitates having critical health and safety and hygiene procedures in place.  These procedures serve to protect your business and the children in your care.  In the unlikely event of a case of food poisoning you need to be able to prove that it was not your fault.  You need to have a record of all the procedures in your food preparation process that ensure food safety and your food safety policy will detail this. 

 

Check for menus posted on the internet as my day cares will have details on their websites.  Arrange visits to day cares locally and ask about their food options.  Booklets and information should be available from your child care licensing inspector.  The key thing to bear in mind is that daycare menus shouldn't be complicated, just simple, honest to goodness nourishing food. 

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