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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, just started looking at daycare/preschools for my 2 year old dd as I'm going back to work - I'm instantly turned off by the menu's in these places!

Why why why can't they serve fresh, whole foods for kids instead of processed junk? There were barely any fruits and veggies and the ones there were were like - 'fruit mix' and the like.

It's enough to make me want to change my decision - and open my own daycare where children are fed fresh foods. I know it's not the end of the world, and I don't think any less of the Mamas who don't mind this - it's MY stuff, but I've worked to hard to have her like and enjoy really fresh good foods - and I hate to see that go down the tubes, kwim?

BLACH!

I can't be the only Mama who's come across this, can I?

Any tips on getting around it - or any chains you've found that serve better foods?

And seriously - do you think there'd be a market for a daycare with whole foods? (ie - do you think in an urban area, there'd be ppl willing to pay more to have their children fed this way?)
 

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i think thats why alot of moms choose home daycares too. I watch two little ones part time in my home and one thing the moms and i talk about alot is food. I mean, theres some junk in my house to be sure but generally they eat well. Becuase they're eating the same things I feed my kids. So theres alot of fresh fruits and vegetables going on. In larger home daycares that are subsidized by the state, and chains/daycare centers you have government food subsidy so unless the owners have a specially designated cook who can be creative you're going to get pretty standard processed foods that are cheap. When my teen was young and in a daycare center we found one that had a lovely little lady running it - i walked in and smelled soup cooking the first day and was drawn in. I talked to her and she said that she kept the center small enough so that she could cook lunch herself every day from scratch for the kids at least 3 out of the 5 days a week.

anyway, i agree that a center that served whole foods/health foods would do well if they could do it and keep the prices down
 

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That's the biggest complaint I have with the daycare my dd goes to. To be fair, they do try and be healthy and there's fruit offered with each lunch but for snacks they usually have cookies or cheese puff. It could be worse, but it could be better. I understand they have to make meals that most of the kids will eat and I worry my dd will become a junk food junkie but so far (after almost a year) there's no sign of that!
 

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Unfortunately this is very typical. We had to deal with it at ds' preschool. We are SO lucky now that he is in a Waldorf kindergarten where they only serve wholesome snacks - brown rice with tamari, oatmeal with raisins, millet with bananas, vegetable soup, rye bread with applesauce and butter. It's like a dream come true. Even at ds' preschool where they always included a fresh fruit or veggie, the other item was always junk like cheezits or those gross colored yogurt tubes.
 

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I'm looking at the menu for ds' future daycare now (Sept.).

Our daycare doesn't seem QUITE as bad since they have fruits and veggies cut up fresh for the kids, and cheeses, yogurt, oatmeal for breakfast, but the "entree" section is the scary part. Mac and cheese, ham and swiss, etc. We'll be sending our own "entree" for ds but everything else he can prob. have at daycare.

Frankly, I'm thankful to have a center with their own on-site cook, instead of a few centers I saw that have brown bags sent in from god-knows-where.

P. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah - On Monday the snack was BROWNIES! And on Thursday it's sceduled to be chips and salsa - CHIPS AND SALSA for two year olds???? (seems like a choking hazard to me, I never give her chips. I just tell her it's garbage and we don't eat garbage
)

and the entrees were mac and cheese(white pasta), chicken patty and bun (fried AND white bread), cereal EVERY morning for breakfast (you just know it's going to be something sugary)

Right now I keep a 1 year old as well (but the $$ just doesn't compare with f/t work and we want a house) and they are fed so well - I don't even think her parents' realize the downgrade she's going to get when she changes daycare in the fall.

ARGH! What a dilemna.
 

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Hi,
I have my 17mo dd in a daycare center run by the YWCA. I have had good luck there with the people being very caring and considerate to me and my dd. The meals are not what I would feed at all. We are almost completely vegan. So, I just send along her food with her every day. This does mean more work on my part, but it is worth it.

I try to send similiar food- I will send whole grain pasta and organic sauce with veggies when they have raviolis for instance. They are really good about it- I send her soy yogurt, organic applesauce and a banana every day plus another fruit for morning snack and extra veggies for lunch. She gets sprouted bread with cashew butter each afternoon and I bring a box of organic rice milk each week for her milk for cereal and milktime. I also bring her organic juice every day as well.

This works for me, but if I had the choice to send her someplace that I trusted that served whole foods, I would be there in an instant! I feel bad that she gets nuked food every lunchtime, but it is a tradeoff.

Margie and Jordan (2/06/03)
 

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It's true - horrible, horrible food at most of the child care centers I've worked at. Entrees usually consisted of some greasy, cheesy ground red meat dish (and we ain't talking grade A meat here to begin with!), maybe an iceberg lettuce salad on the side (w/requisite fatty ranch dressing) and sliced white bread. Worse, I had to inform the food prep staff repeatedly about the meat being undercooked - I mean pink - and was finally told that "Well, we put food colouring in the meat to enhance the appearance." I didn't believe that and said "So if the meat really were undercooked I wouldn't be able to tell anyway because it's been coloured?" :puke

Rrriiight. I realize that the centers I've been at have been quite constrained financially, but I'm a very thrifty cook and thinking about it, I realized that proportionally I could probably prepare healthy, even organic vegetarian lunches for the kids for maybe a few cents more a day than they were paying for that garbage. It tends to make a big difference if there's a chef on site. The centres where I worked all used catering/cafeteria services, and it puzzled me that companies whose sole business was catering to childcare centres could get away with providing such a poor product. The centre I went to as a child, by contrast, even though it too had a large contingent of subsidized clients and was located in a working class neighborhood, had it's own cook who prepared healthy vegetarian food daily. So I think it's doable.
 

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mine serves pure crap, sigh, but as it's mother's day out twice a week & just snack (i provide lunch- and snack too, now that we're eliminating dairy) i am not worked up enough to do anything other than gently educate; i've had nice conversations when they've asked where to get organic yogurt, etc.

it does drive me nuts that say, at the 10 grand a year waldorf school in the ritzy section of town they get wholesome food, but here in the (as they put it in their yuppy alterna-weekly) 'lower middle-class suburbs' (!!! so classist!) the kids get fruity pebbles or whatever.

if i had a kid in full time daycare i'd be fussier, but then a lot of people who are using full-time daycare *have to* for time, money, & gas reasons find someplace close to their work, & their options are limited.

when i had my dd in daycare i was kind of weird about home daycares; around here i'm not so convinced they wouldn't be eating twinkies & watching tv all day. i used the commercial ones.

suse
 

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i just wanted to say don't give up hope!! my ds's daycare serves very healthy, whole foods- age appropriate choices and it actually looks *good*. ds is vegetarian and they have an entire vegetarian menu
today he is eating 7 bean soup, fresh fruit (NOT a fruit cup- although he likes those too
), whole wheat toast and cheese. they have snacks like fresh veggies and whole grain crackers and hummus. nothing is overly spiced (although ds actually likes more spiced food- at 18mo he loves channa masala- go figure!!) and the veggie menu, imho is actually balanced. i've seen veg menus that are heavily dairy/breads but they get a variety of stuff. the only "sweet" they get other than fresh fruit is vanilla wafers once every 2 weeks or so. i used to ask that ds not get them but i ended up deciding it wasn't a big deal. also, they are great about serving him drinks from home b/c i don't like him to have lots of whole milk or juice too much.......

hhmmmmm, if you are unable to find a tasty menu or have limited options (we are SO limited financially and location-wise, honestly i got lucky with this on!!) you could always try option #2- pack your own!! i'm not sure if your daughter would be old enough that this might bother her but most daycares are ok with this (and they probably already do it for kids with allergies or other dietary restrcitions). ds started going (he is about 10 hrs a week btw) he was 9 months and in the infant room. when he started solids i brought all his own food. he would never eat that pureed stuff and honestly i think it's gross, lol. he ate very little b/c he mostly wanted to nurse but his teachers were very supportive of me bringing it, i had a special place in the fridge etc. the yo-baby stuff is very popular here and i know parents in his room right now that still bring it for their kids.........

now, if only i could get this place to support local organic farmers and buy their produce.........................
 

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We moved to a new city last year, and I've noticed that it's common here for daycare centres to do meals - where we were before, some (but not all) home daycares provide meals, but not usually centres. Centres might provide apple juice but that's it.

I think it's too strange that all these centres provide meals, between picky eaters and allergy concerns. Not to mention the fact that, based on what you all are saying above, most of what they serve is junk. Bizarre!!!

Can you find somewhere where meals aren't provided and pack your own? Hey, it's fun having your own lunch kit when you're 2!

And yes, I totally think there would be a market for a healthy daycare!
 

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My boys went to daycare for a couple of years & the food was so nasty it made me ill just thinking about it. Usually the morning snack was freash fruit but the rest was just nasty. I let them have their morning snack & then packed the rest. I do know of some home caregivers that require parents to supply food but most centers around here serve meals & snacks.
 

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hi! i have an inhome day care and we are a totally organic, whole food, low sugar, veggi household! and that is one of the main reasons the mothers i sit for picked me (also i love kids and have a elem k-8 teaching degree too!)
but what we do is the moms buy the foods that they want their kids to eat that week and i label and serve accordingly.
as it is summer and hot, i am not doing much cooking so lunches are usualy fruit, veggies, nut butters on spelt bread etc
and sancks are simular
we keep it simple and keep it healthy and if another child wants something that was broguht by anotehr child i just share, it happens all the time and the moms feel like it is all even and fair and they are happy their kids are eathing healthy and learning how to share
and if i want to plan some cooking project (like banna bread or smoothies) i divide the needed grocery list between moms and they all contribute for the following week's project.
everyone is happy
including me, who gets to stay at home with my daughter, provide her with lots of social interaction, and feed children i love healthy food
i think it is VERY important to eat healthy food and it is totally cost effective
snack cakes and comercial chips are expensive, orgainc carrots and bannanas are relatively cheap

to the OP:
if you are interested in seeing if their are any interested parents in your area for a healthy in home daycare: put up flyers at your natural health food store and in you paper, and check the response.......
good luck
 

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When my older dd went to Seven Oaks Academy for preschool, all of the kids brought their own lunch. That did not take care of snacks, but at least her main meal there was healthy.

My younger dd goes to a preschool at a private elementary where the kids bring their own lunches & parents rotate bringing in snacks. I provide a bunch of extra snacks for them to keep there in case the snack that is brought in that day is not vegetarian (we are vegi), but most of them seem half-way decent. And, of course, I get to choose the snack when it is my turn. They serve the kids milk with snack, but they keep a half gallon of organic soymilk in the fridge that I & one other mom rotate bringing in for just our two kids - her's is lactose intolerant & I just don't want my kids eating a lot of dairy (especially non-organic), although they eat a little outside of home.
 
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