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  #1  
Old 04-27-2010, 05:47 PM
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Default USDA Food Program Menus

I'm trying to get a menu together for my new daycare. I understand all the components of the food program but my menu seems boring. If you are in the food program could you maybe give me some ideas of what you feed the children. I also need to keep this on a tight budget so please nothing with tons of ingredients. I will be serving Morning Breakfast, Lunch and an afternoon snack.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:22 PM
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Sometimes life is boring. With boredom comes calmness, which is what you likely need at the beginning of your career with children. Feel free to choose 10 meals and just rotate them. The children will grow to expect certain foods on a regular basis and those touchy ones - the ones children are challenged with and don't try the first few times - will be served more often if you only have 10 to choose from. Thus, more exposure to that food, more likely they will eat it.

As for lunches: I have basic ingredients I mix together for a casserole. I chose a protein, either noodles or rice and a vegetable. That's lunch with an added fruit on the side.

Snacks are grain and milk. That's simple.

Just don't burn yourself out on trying to be supermom. Daycare is a high burnout profession. Cut yourself some slack. Your business will fail or succeed in the first few years based on your abiity to "do it all". Leave something out so you have time for yourself.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:15 PM
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I appreciate your words of wisdom. Because you're right sometimes we do try so hard to make every little thing perfect and it is so stressful. I'm already feeling the stress and I haven't even started because I just want everything perfect!! I won't stress so much on the menu as long as it follows the food program guidelines. Thanks.
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:35 AM
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Mine is very basic. The children get what they need and I am less stressed making a full meal for daycare and then again at dinner for my family. Children get sandwhiches 3 times per week. I rotate bologna, ham, turkey, and PB&J. They get a fruit, veggie and milk. Twice per week I offer a cooked meal like mac and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggest, speghetti, or a quick casserole, and of course the fruit, veggie and milk. Sometimes I have leftovers from dinner so we have that.

It's too expensive and time consuming to make a full course meal at lunch. Then come dinner, I don't feel like going all out and my family needs to come first. You could also come up with a monthly schedule and use the same one every month.
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:49 AM
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I agree gbcc. Yesterday, I spent 40 minutes peeling and frying potatoes for lunch, I thought those taters would never get done. While yes the kids ate it, they certainly didn't appreciate the time and effort I put into making lunch for them. I have done a rotating menu before, and it does take the hassle out of it, I also have a "list" of foods that most like hanging on the fridge. This helps me in fixing lunches also.

The top 4 foods at my house for lunch are pancakes, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and peanut butter sandwich. I try about once a week to squeeze something in that they don't have too often, nut then when most of it gets thrown away, I get frustrated.

Also, I believe that lunch is just that, lunch. Not a 4 course meal that most people typically have for dinner.
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:51 AM
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Default Here is a link on menus from a while back.

http://www.daycare.com/forum/showthr...ighlight=menus
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:35 AM
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For Breakfast I serve:
2x per week- Cereal, Toast, OJ, Milk (you only need one grain but I do both)
3x Per week I rotate- bagel, biscuit, pancake, waffle, muffins, french toast, oatmeal and milk, banana.

For Lunch I Serve:
2 x per week- Sandwich(turkey, PB, or ham), fruit, veggie, and chips (which dont count on the food program but you can serve them in addition)
3x per week- Leftovers from our dinner, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, mac and cheese, fish sticks, Little smokies, BBQ meatballs, Quesadillas, bean and cheese burritos, chicken taquitos, pizza

For Snack I serve:
2 x per week- Cookie and milk
3 x per week- pretzels, wheat thins, p. butter crackers, goldfish crackers and Juice. I keep snacks very basic.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:39 AM
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Default I need to learn more cooking skills

As for lunches: I have basic ingredients I mix together for a casserole. I chose a protein, either noodles or rice and a vegetable. That's lunch with an added fruit on the side.



Im not very good at making casseroles, can you give me an example of an easy one with all the ingredients?
Thank-you
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:43 AM
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Children get sandwhiches 3 times per week. I rotate bologna, ham, turkey, and PB&J.


Is this OK to do with all food programs (every state)? I live in Mn.

I wasn't sure if you can serve lunch meat that often or not. It would however make luch hour alot easier some days!

Thanks
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
For Breakfast I serve:
2x per week- Cereal, Toast, OJ, Milk (you only need one grain but I do both)
3x Per week I rotate- bagel, biscuit, pancake, waffle, muffins, french toast, oatmeal and milk, banana.

For Lunch I Serve:
2 x per week- Sandwich(turkey, PB, or ham), fruit, veggie, and chips (which dont count on the food program but you can serve them in addition)
3x per week- Leftovers from our dinner, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, mac and cheese, fish sticks, Little smokies, BBQ meatballs, Quesadillas, bean and cheese burritos, chicken taquitos, pizza

For Snack I serve:
2 x per week- Cookie and milk
3 x per week- pretzels, wheat thins, p. butter crackers, goldfish crackers and Juice. I keep snacks very basic.
This menu sounds super simple and easy! I'm just starting out and I think trying to really "impress" the parents with the elaborate menu I have. I spend more time on the dck lunches than my own family's dinner. I also spend a fortune on fruit each week. I do a variety of bananas, apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, canned oranges and canned peaches and then a different fresh fruit each week the children may have not tried (this week it was honeydew).

I just have 2 dcgs that always tell me they are hungry throughout the day and have 2nd and 3rds at lunch of fruit and whatever the main dish is. I usually have to replenish my fruit at least once a week and sometimes twice and feel like they are eating me out of house and home during snack time. I just can't imagine them being satisfied with a cookie and milk...this would be such an easy snack though. Snack is usually string cheese, crackers and fruit and most of them will eat more than one string of cheese and with 6 kids it doesn't take long to go through a lot of food.

I'm really thinking about simplifying my menu though for both financial and preparation time reasons.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:16 AM
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I would give them their snack and they are done. No seconds on it. A snack is just that, not a meal. They shouldn't feel like they need to fill up on snack. I have no problem giving a child seconds as long as they have ate everything else on their plate, but thirds, probably not.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:38 AM
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Off subject -

What are your kids' favorite cereals?? I'd tried the frosted mini shredded wheat and a few other Great Value cereals and I just can't find a cereal that all the kids are ok eating. My girls could eat oatmeal every day but the dcks...not so much.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:47 AM
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Off subject -

What are your kids' favorite cereals?? I'd tried the frosted mini shredded wheat and a few other Great Value cereals and I just can't find a cereal that all the kids are ok eating. My girls could eat oatmeal every day but the dcks...not so much.
My kids really like Apple Cinn. Cheerios
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:49 AM
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For cereal I serve, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and I buy all off brands. I have no problem with them eating these.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by twinmama View Post
I just have 2 dcgs that always tell me they are hungry throughout the day and have 2nd and 3rds at lunch of fruit and whatever the main dish is. I usually have to replenish my fruit at least once a week and sometimes twice and feel like they are eating me out of house and home during snack time. I just can't imagine them being satisfied with a cookie and milk...this would be such an easy snack though. Snack is usually string cheese, crackers and fruit and most of them will eat more than one string of cheese and with 6 kids it doesn't take long to go through a lot of food.
I have a rule that the kids can't ask for "seconds" on anything until they've finished everything on their plate...or I would have kids that fill-up on fruit and nothing else. And my philosophy is if they're truly hungry, they'll eat what's in front of them. They may have seconds if it's already prepared -fruit cut up for example - but I don't prepare additionally anything for seconds. I just say, "sorry, it's all gone" and the kids are fine with that.

If you think about it - when they get to school, and purchase a school plate lunch, they'll be served one serving of everything, and most schools don't have seconds available.

As far as snack time - I agree with a previous response that a snack is a snack and not a meal. I keep snack time as quick and low-key as possible..and we are hurrying on to another activity...or the kids would be eating/munching all afternoon.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinmama View Post
Off subject -

What are your kids' favorite cereals?? I'd tried the frosted mini shredded wheat and a few other Great Value cereals and I just can't find a cereal that all the kids are ok eating. My girls could eat oatmeal every day but the dcks...not so much.
I love the Walmart Great Value cereals. My kids here eat the generic versions of Cheerios, Rice Krispies and Corn and Rice Chex.

I don't buy the brightly colored or sugared cereals, but will add a dash of sprinkles/jimmies on top of their cereal, or a drop of food coloring into the milk in their bowl - they LOVE those "treats"
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
As for lunches: I have basic ingredients I mix together for a casserole. I chose a protein, either noodles or rice and a vegetable. That's lunch with an added fruit on the side.



Im not very good at making casseroles, can you give me an example of an easy one with all the ingredients?
Thank-you
Breakfast and snacks are pretty simple, here....one bread, one fruit/vegetable. Milk with meals. Juice with snacks. Toddlers (anyone not on infant formula) get one Pediasure milkshake a day, as well.

Lunch is the bigger plan.

I pre-cook and fill my deep freeze every few months, then all I do is pull it out the night before and re-heat. Comes in handy with 3 teenagers in the house...and a husband whom still works 24 hour shifts 3 times a week. (I often fill my elderly MIL's freezer as well to simplify her life, too) It really has been the best plan, here.

I use party wear (tin-foil type containers and lids from party/restaurant supply stores).
Staples:
1.Meatloaf (ground beef, eggs, onion powder/diced onion, bread crumbs, ketchup on top, usually served with mashed potato's, green beans)
2. Sheppard's Pie (mashed potatoes topped with ground beef, diced chicken or diced ham, topped with shredded cheese, usually served with corn on the cob)
3. Chicken/Broccoli Alfredo (diced chicken, egg noodles, olive oil, steamed broccoli florets, mixed with shredded cheese, sometimes even topped with cheese)
4. Spaghetti with meat sauce .(yep, just mix the sauce right in and top with shredded cheese, instant casserole, usually served with tossed salad)
5. Tuna casserole (spiral pasta, tuna, mayo/olive oil, dill relish, serve cold, usually served with sweet peas)
6. Taco Dip (huge hit!) (re-fried beans topped with sour cream mixed with taco seasoning, and shredded cheese. Serve cold with rounded corn chips and carrot sticks)
7. Beanie Weenie (baked beans, use your favorite recipe with hot dogs sliced longways then diced into small pieces, usually served with sweet cornbread and Brussel sprouts)

Sprinkle in some easy meals like :

1. Sombreros (bologna with an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes in the center, topped with cheese, heat in frying pan/bologna will curl up and hold contents like a hat)
2. Personal pizzas (English muffin, pizza sauce, pepperoni, shredded cheese)
3. Hot Ham and Cheese
4. Soft tacos
5. Chicken tenders (baked with shake-n-bake instead of frying)

Then I just add fruits/veggies and rotate out the dishes. Make it as simple as possible....
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