daycare asked for "meal" ideas, help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-17-2012, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Now, I'll be the first to admit that DS's daycare lunches were extremely repetitive. He had a sunflower seed butter & jelly sandwich every. single. day. Because he loves them and I knew he wouldn't refuse it. He also got 2 fresh fruit servings a day. Now daycare has started providing a hot lunch, so he has more variety, but it's the type of food I would get him in a restaurant, not what he should be eating every day. We've complained several times. It's supposedly made from scratch but includes things like: all beef hot dogs, quesadillas, tacos, burgers, taquitos, chicken nuggets, pizza, etc. And there isn't fruit daily. And there is dessert daily (sometimes that's the fruit - like apple crisp. yep, really).

So, daycare is going to have a meeting with the provider. They are going to request subbing the dessert out for more fruit. But I've been asked for some meal suggestions. Please help!

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#2 of 5 Old 08-17-2012, 02:52 PM
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Well, healthier-than-hotdogs&chicken-nugget-type meal suggestions that my toddler likes:


spaghetti with marinara sauce

tomato soup & grilled cheese

baked potato half with broccoli & cheese

black bean dip with chips and cheese quesadilla


you could also consider:

chicken soup (with noodles & veggies)

tuna melt

chili (like a meat/veg chili - good with baked potato too)

chicken soft taco (simple sliced/flavored meat with lettuce, cheese)



I often pair any of these types of meals with stuff like:


carrot sticks, apple slices, cucumber slices, raisins, oranges, cheese cubes, small bowl yogurt

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#3 of 5 Old 08-17-2012, 03:30 PM
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Sounds very processed even if they claim otherwise. Many of those things could be healthish but I really doubt they are. I mean seriously, are they hand patting grass fed into whole wheat buns? Breading and baking chicken breast? Use reduced fat cheese with whole pinto beans in whole wheat tortiallas? No, probably not. I think the truck from Sysco drops it off.


(Disclaimer: no experience with daycare whatsoever. Our preschool doesn't serve lunch but nothing on their list would meet the nutrition policy at our school. Our charter k-6 school is more or less the same).


I'd start with the following items being unacceptable for small children: no white bread or white products at all, at a minimum must be partially whole grain like Barilla plus pasta or real whole wheat; nothing processed with HFCS, not because it is evil but because quality products don't contain it and it is an easy criteria to get rid of processed junk; meal always contains a vegetable of some sortl fruit needs to be fresh 4 of 5 days a week and the day that it is not it needs to be a low sugar version, like no sugar added applesauce. No gmo soy. Meal should be vegetarian at least twice a week. Dessert is not served routinely as part of lunch. Low sugar birthday treats only like unfrosted cake or berry muffin. "Bars" are not food.


Some other ideas:


black beans and rice

pasta soup with whole wheat elbows

marinara with "hidden veggies" with whole wheat pasta, parmesan cheese on the side so kids can great it themselves

tofu, broccoli, and brown rice with soy sauce

fried brown rice

tempeh, rice, and green beans with soy sauce butter

all beef hot dog with baked sweet potato fries

beef vegetable noodle soup

breakfast for lunch- whole grain pancakes with veggie sausage

yogurt bar with unsweetened yogurt and various toppings

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#4 of 5 Old 08-17-2012, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks mamas, these are really helpful.

Judi - my thoughts exactly. I might just print out your unacceptable list and tell them (nicely, of course) that these are the kind of standards we follow in our family and what I would expect if I was paying for lunch daily. Honestly, I'd rather go back to packing his lunch myself but he's reached that age where he notices when everyone else has something he doesn't.

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#5 of 5 Old 08-19-2012, 11:37 AM
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oh that is super tough! I would cringe if my child was fed that, too... right now is such an important time for eating new stuff and trying new things, yes! even in social situations.


There are some great suggestions, I would also just insist on whole, single on 3 max ingredient foods (unless it is a veggie sauce, etc).


Some things sent in my preschooler's lunch:

A baked potato

quesadilla on corn or whole wheat tortilla

Pita + hummus + falafel

Beans and rice eaten with a corn chip spoon

rice veggie tofu

Rice wrapped in nori with mushrooms/carrots

eggs--hardboiled, scrambled, etc. with spinach, etc.


I think I would send my child's lunch and maybe have him eat the fruit, but not the other stuff....

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