Menu planning is easy with Child Care Choices. Planning ahead can also save you time and money! Child Care Choices offer you a variety of tools to assist you in planning menus that include variety and healthy options for the children that you are serving. For more information contact one of our field staff by clicking here.
Tips for Successful Menu Planning:
- Variety– When planning your menus,make an effort to not repeat menu items often (ie. only serve chicken nugets once or twice a month, or only serve corn once a week).
- Color– Plan for color variety with each meal, keeping meals healthy and exciting.
- Texture– Include foods at each meal that are crunchy, chewy and smooth, helping children get excited about trying new foods.
- Aroma– Prepare foods that smell good. Fresh-baked items and spices will help stimulate an appetite. Overcooked vegetables smell, taste and look unappealing.
- Arrangement– Many children do not like their food touching, so place the food on the plate so the items do not touch.
- Choice– Allow children to help plan out meals. Ask them to chose the fruits & vegetables to put down on the menu.
- Independence– Try Family Style Serving. Children who serve themselves are more likely to try the food they put on their plate and teaches them responsibility for their food choices and assists with good table manners
Keeping Meals Healthier:
- Whole Grains. Choose whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice as often as possible.
- Vary your veggies. Eat lots of dark green and orange vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes
- Focus on fruit- Eat them at meals and at snack time. Choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit.
- Get calcium-rich foods. Drink milk several times a day to help build strong bones.
- Go lean with protein. Eat lean or low-fat meats like chicken, turkey and fish. Try dry beans and peas, nuts or seeds.
- Change your oil. Get your oil from fish, nuts or liquid oil such as corn, soybean, canola or olive oil.
- Don’t sugarcoat it. Choose foods and beverages that do not have sugar as one of the first ingredients.