Daycare food? — The Bump
North Carolina Babies

Daycare food?

I am just starting to enter the world of meals at daycare.  Until now, I have been sending purees and formula.  'The ladies' think that Alex needs more, and pointed me to the daily menu.  While my kid is still pretty young and I want to be the one that intros food to him, I took a quick look, and...YUCK!

All of the food is carby and white flour stuff.  I felt comfortable commenting that I'll bring my own for a while because it doesn't look overly nutritious.  The teachers agreed, and said that it meets the state standards.  One also pointed out that we are in S. Carolina, and a fruit or veg is not required, so in turn, they aren't often provided.  WTH? Breakfast:  Pancakes  Lunch:  Grilled Cheese and potato chips, also cinnamon bread, toasted bread with cheese, etc.  Not a fruit or veg in sight.

 Have you found that daycare food is not up to your standards?  (I don't really know what my 'standards' are yet, but at first glance, this ain't it!)  If so, do you send different/additional food?  For older kids, I would think they want to eat what the other kids are eating, so do they actually eat what you send?

For some reason, this is really bugging me...

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Re: Daycare food?

  • I think I have written this same post a few times :)

    Our daycare food is horrendous!  They do always provide a veggie for lunch though so I guess that is one up on yours, I can't believe they don't have a veggie! After being there for nearly 2 years they have finally added a fruit to breakfast which had me over the moon with excitement.

    What we did for a long time was send in supplemental food.  Basically it insured that he was getting good stuff, while still being allowed to have what the other kids had because I never want him to feel singled out.  Another parent did the same as us and I think that is how the fruit got added to breakfast.

    Anyway, for a LONG time, we would look at the menu and tell them what he could and could not have.  So say it was pancakes for breakfast, well, ok he can have the pancakes but no syrup and please give him this fruit that I have brought for him in addition.  Or lunch is :gag: whatever it is, give him the veggies and whatever else was suitable, and then give him this yogurt at 3 please and no chocolate pudding for snack.  You get the idea.

    It has definitely been a battle for us and I will tell you that it is not likely to get better.  We did get a fruit added to breakfast, but I can't tell you how often they feel like it is ok to give him candy or cookies in the afternoon when that is not on the menu. 

    I also have the unfortunate perk of having a child who is very sensitive to sugar so when he comes home telling me he had nim-nims (M&Ms) or cookies (off brand Oreos) he ends up laying in bed kicking his legs around until 10pm and that is just not ok. 

    Well, anyway, I didn't mean to get off on my own tangent but hopefully this will give you some ideas of what you can do.  I hope our new center will have better food, I haven't asked for a sample menu yet!

     

    My sweet boy :)
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  • I consider myself to be not very picky when it comes to what DC feeds Holly, but after reading your posts, I see that we have it pretty good! They do not serve her breakfast, just lunch and 2 snacks. I am happy with the lunch selections--today is turkey, corn, and broccoli, and yesterday was bean & cheese burritos, baked apples, and carrots. It's all prepared fresh there on site at the main cafeteria (she's at a center on-site at DH's work).There are always fruits & veggies, and I'm happy about that. But I am not a huge fan of some of their snacks--captains wafers crackers, Nutrigrain bars, Fig Newtons, etc. Although they also will have fresh fruit along with those things most of the time--grapes, bananas, etc, or canned fruit like mandarin oranges, or a string cheese stick, etc. So all in all, I am happy.

    But if they were not doing hardly any veggies or fruits, I'd have a big problem with it. That's sad to me that "since it's not required," they don't feel the need to provide it anyway. I would definitely do like Angelpack said, and send in supplementary food. That way he could eat what the other kids are eating, but still get the nutrition you want.

    I think you should get together with some of the other parents and rally for better food options! Who knows if it would work, but it's worth a shot! Can you offer to provide snack for the class a few times a month (if they allow outside food)? I definitely think I'd have to say or do something to try and make that situation better.



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  • Must be a SC thing, because the state standards in NC do require fruits and veggies.  I have said before that DS eats better at school than he does at home, because I can be bad about not having many veggies!  Some of the centers I visited didn't have the healthiest options but somehow managed to fit in the guidelines, but both his old and his new center do a really good job I think.  They even have rules like fruit juice has to be 100% and things like that. 

    However, I think it's a rule here that if the daycare receives funding for food (which most do) that you can't bring your kid their own food unless they have an allergy or medical need.  I know I had to get a dr's note to bring Eli his own milk b/c of his swallowing condition.  And they even provided soy milk and a nut-free environment so very few kids were allowed to bring food.  Not sure if SC has that law or not.  For infants they allow it, but once they're on table food they won't.  Just FYI

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  • imageMrsHughesNC:

    I consider myself to be not very picky when it comes to what DC feeds Holly, but after reading your posts, I see that we have it pretty good! They do not serve her breakfast, just lunch and 2 snacks. I am happy with the lunch selections--today is turkey, corn, and broccoli, and yesterday was bean & cheese burritos, baked apples, and carrots. It's all prepared fresh there on site at the main cafeteria (she's at a center on-site at DH's work).There are always fruits & veggies, and I'm happy about that. But I am not a huge fan of some of their snacks--captains wafers crackers, Nutrigrain bars, Fig Newtons, etc. Although they also will have fresh fruit along with those things most of the time--grapes, bananas, etc, or canned fruit like mandarin oranges, or a string cheese stick, etc. So all in all, I am happy.

     

    You really do have it good!  Our menu looks more like Chicken Nuggets, Fish nuggets, meatballs and gravy, sloppy joes and pizza.  It makes me very sad.

    Our daycare doesn't have a person designated to make food so they just send a teacher in to make it when they have time which means that it is all convenience, processed nasty junk.  It makes me really sad :(  We just work really hard to compensate at home and with what we would send for him.  Since they do more fruits and veggies now I don't supplement so much anymore, but I will cut up grapes or give him a banana in the car on the way to school so he fills up on that instead of a chewy granola bar.

    My sweet boy :)
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  • When we were daycare hunting, I specifically asked if they had a cook or brought food in.  It makes a big difference IMO. 

    Also, Holly is in a Montessori daycare right Hughes?  The Montessori here has an amazing menu (it's all organic even).  If it just weren't so darned expensive. Stick out tongue

    However, it something to think about b/c that's how it's going to be when they're in school.  I remember being in school and having to pick a meat, veggie, and starch.  And we either got milk or chocolate milk.  Now all they have is crap, and they don't have to pick anything.  MIL teaches 4th grade and it's appaling what her kids eat.  But they won't *make* them eat healthy.  My kid will be taking his lunch.

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  • imagemrsmikey:

    My kid will be taking his lunch.

    Ditto! 

    It is gross.  Ben's daycare meets the nutritional guidelines so just think about that.

    My sweet boy :)
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  • Oh, and back to the OP, at 7 months PLEASE don't let them bully you.  Some people start table food much later than 7 months, in fact some people don't even start any solids period until 6 months so you are still very early for table foods.  We gave in at 9 months to highly restricted table foods and that was still earlier than a lot of people I work with.  I don't know what other people on the board have done, but just don't let them bully you.  You will know when your child is ready and you tell them when that is, don't let them tell you.  You set the rules.

    This probably goes without saying, but I know how I felt when they started pressuring me so I thought it should be said.

    My sweet boy :)
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  • imagemrsmikey:

    Also, Holly is in a Montessori daycare right Hughes?  The Montessori here has an amazing menu (it's all organic even).  If it just weren't so darned expensive. Stick out tongue

    Yes, it is. I'm finding it's not as "die hard" as some Montessori schools are, but it is Montessori. Their food is not organic, though.



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  • Our old daycare had the worst menu, it would be cheese toast for breakfast, fish sticks and beans at lunch and graham crackers and juice for snack.  It was awful, and they made me get a doctor's note for him to not get juice but water instead.  We switched him about 3 months ago and the new place is great.  Their weekly menu is posted every week, and while there are some things that aren't the greatest, they really do have a much better menu.  Breakfast is milk, fruit and ___  sometimes they have cereal or pancakes, but no syrup or anything.  Lunch is always fruit/veg/milk and then a meal like sandwiches, bean and veggie burrito, etc...  They get a good variety of fruit and veggies too, hardly ever the same in a week.  So lima beans  Monday, Green beans Tuesday, broccoli Wednesday, and so on.  And he eats it all, which is amazing because he won't eat at home.

    We do ask that he get water instead of juice if they are having juice with breakfast or lunch plus snack - he doesn't need that much juice, but at least they use 100% fruit juice and mix half with water.  We typically give him breakfast at home because they eat late and it's technically AM snack, and when I pick him up I have water and a snack for him like whole grain goldfish, a granola bar, something extra.

    And ditto Mikey - he will pack a lunch.  My school never had a lunch line so we packed every day.  Although I had PB&J all the time, I wonder if he'll be able to take that with all these nut allergies and rules now a days.  I know if we take food in for O to daycare it can't have nut products on it.

  • imageAngelPack:

    Oh, and back to the OP, at 7 months PLEASE don't let them bully you.  Some people start table food much later than 7 months, in fact some people don't even start any solids period until 6 months so you are still very early for table foods.  We

    I didn't even realize he's only 7 mos... I think around 9 mos, DC started saying we might want to bring in finger foods to supplement her purees (she didn't get on the school lunch schedule until later), and I think we did around that time. We'd send small size pasta, steamed peas, soft fruits, etc. If you're not ready to do that, like Angelpack said, don't let them pressure you into it!



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  • Our daycare is so / so.  They do have a cook that makes everything daily and they also try to use whole grain when possible.  In the summer they always use fresh fruits / veggies but I noticed in the winter months they do not.  For lunch there is always a meat / starch / fruit / veggies offered and for breakfast it starchy - but then again it's probably no worse than what she gets at home, and snacks are usually fruit, cheese / crackers, or cereal bar.  Not the best, but not the worst either.

    I will say too that 7 months seems early to start eating from a lunch menu.  Ella didn't start eating solids until 10 months (other than puffs and yogurt).  Have you tried yogurt yet?  That might be something you could send. 

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  • imageskirk429:

    Our old daycare had the worst menu, it would be cheese toast for breakfast, fish sticks and beans at lunch and graham crackers and juice for snack.  It was awful, and they made me get a doctor's note for him to not get juice but water instead.  We switched him about 3 months ago and the new place is great.  Their weekly menu is posted every week, and while there are some things that aren't the greatest, they really do have a much better menu.  Breakfast is milk, fruit and ___  sometimes they have cereal or pancakes, but no syrup or anything.  Lunch is always fruit/veg/milk and then a meal like sandwiches, bean and veggie burrito, etc...  They get a good variety of fruit and veggies too, hardly ever the same in a week.  So lima beans  Monday, Green beans Tuesday, broccoli Wednesday, and so on.  And he eats it all, which is amazing because he won't eat at home.

    We do ask that he get water instead of juice if they are having juice with breakfast or lunch plus snack - he doesn't need that much juice, but at least they use 100% fruit juice and mix half with water.  We typically give him breakfast at home because they eat late and it's technically AM snack, and when I pick him up I have water and a snack for him like whole grain goldfish, a granola bar, something extra.

    And ditto Mikey - he will pack a lunch.  My school never had a lunch line so we packed every day.  Although I had PB&J all the time, I wonder if he'll be able to take that with all these nut allergies and rules now a days.  I know if we take food in for O to daycare it can't have nut products on it.

    I'm sure that in a public school he can have peanut butter.  I know Evans is looking into this b/c of her DD's nut allergies and schools aren't nut free like some daycares/preschools are. 

    Daycares (at least the 2 we've been to) are really good about the allergy thing.  One of DS' classmates even has a special chair he eats in so he doesn't accidentally touch something he has an allergy too (like if another kid had something and touched their chair).  It's very impressive.  But I think once their in school all rules are out the window. 

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  • imageMrsHughesNC:
    imageAngelPack:

    Oh, and back to the OP, at 7 months PLEASE don't let them bully you.  Some people start table food much later than 7 months, in fact some people don't even start any solids period until 6 months so you are still very early for table foods.  We

    I didn't even realize he's only 7 mos... I think around 9 mos, DC started saying we might want to bring in finger foods to supplement her purees (she didn't get on the school lunch schedule until later), and I think we did around that time. We'd send small size pasta, steamed peas, soft fruits, etc. If you're not ready to do that, like Angelpack said, don't let them pressure you into it!

    I agree with this also.  DS didn't start solids at all until he was 6 months, and then it was just purees.  But we did move to some table foods pretty quickly and he was eating alot by 9 months.  So even though we started slow, he picked up fast.  We just followed his cues. 

    At some point I do remember them telling me he could eat off the menu, but they didn't push it, they were just telling me since some of his classmates were.  So every week I took a copy of the menu and circled the things I wanted him to have and they gave him that in addition to the food I brought.  It worked really well, and we did this until he was much older and I opened up the full menu to him. 

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  • this is a big reason we chose our daycare (plus its proximity to our house)

    http://www.thelittleschool.net/programdetails.htm#Menu

    the food is delish, and chef nate was poached from the fearrington house. plus, they have fresh fruit w/snack morning and afternoon (but we have to bring a piece of fruit every day), they use local/organic ingredients and even get maple view farms milk (yum!). food standards that the daycares need to meet are NOT high, and the fact that juice counts as a fruit totally grosses me out.

    henry didn't start daycare until he was almost 18 months, so idk what they do for the infants, but i agree w/PPs about not letting them pressure you. bring in some supplemental finger foods, and he'll be fine!

    (i'm procrastinating studying for my exam at 2... <sigh>)

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  • DS starts daycare part-time this summer and I've been so worried about the food.  Glad to know I'm not the only one that will be sending his food!
  • Oh boy!  Yes, the SC guidelines are not nearly as ?healthy? as the NC ones.  I?m going to ask if we are allowed to bring in food once he?s older.  If we are not allowed, that may cause me to seriously consider switching to a NC daycare (or one with a better menu). The idea of organic, locally grown food sounds fabulous!

    And thanks for the backup about not getting pressured into feeding standard food yet.  This all started because I got a note yesterday to ?Please send more food.  Alex refused his afternoon bottle and was mad when he saw the other kids eating table foods.?  This is after eating 4oz of solids/purees.  Eh?I don?t really buy that as why he was fussy - he?s recovering from some things right now so is really off his game.

    I don?t think The Ladies were suggesting that we eat everything on the menu, just that it is available if we want to supplement like some other kids in his class are (under 1 year).  My cursory glance at the yucky items on the menu is what got me thinking for when he is older.

    DC does have a designated cook?When he gets more dependent on DC food, I will likely chat with the director.

    Will try yogurt as our next intro food! 

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  • Honestly at 7 months, he really may be ready for more "substantial" food.  My baby LOVES food and really was interested in eating what others ate, eating with them, etc.  So I really do think that is a reasonable comment from the teachers.  Keep in mind he won't be able to eat everything the food provides (ex: raw carrots) but he can sample some things like yogurt, applesauce, etc.

    Our daycare provides fruit/veggie at every meal and snacks are typically some type of dairy, fruit, and occasionally a sweet like crackers or bread.  They also prepare items that challenge kids to eat "outside the box" so to speak- taquitos, tuna salad, things other than pasta/chicken nuggets.  Even at 1y my baby isn't quite fully on daycare food, but they offer him everything.  I am still sending about 4 little items daily- yogurt (his fav!), a veggie, a "main dish" and applesauce as back up foods.

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  • imagekateland3:

    this is a big reason we chose our daycare (plus its proximity to our house)

    http://www.thelittleschool.net/programdetails.htm#Menu

    Can I go eat lunch with your son every day? That menu sounds awesome!

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