Daycare Menus Simplified
So many people panic about daycare menus, what they should and shouldn't do, what needs to be included to cover the requirements of the dreaded food pyramid and generally get themselves in an awful tizzy about something that simply requires a little common sense. When cooking for a day care you need to ensure you are providing nutritious meals, that the food preparation process is hygienic and that the meals you are providing are easily prepared in bulk.
Healthy, easy to prepare, well rounded meals are the key. There are so many one pot dishes that are ideal for daycare menus
- and your own family. Keep it simple and stop thinking that you need to transform yourself into Jamie Oliver. Think casseroles
and stews, chunky soups, steamed vegetables, fish, pasta and lots of fresh fruits. Cheese, crackers, rice cakes, raisins,
carrot sticks, sandwiches and yogurts make great snacks.
Personally, I don't provide food at my day care (in Ireland - this may not be an option in your region so check the regulations) and parents send in all snacks plus a meal which we reheat and serve to the kids. Another option to consider is ordering pre-prepared, frozen meals and heating on the premises. Some companies specialize in providing this service to day cares and deliver to your freezer. This will add to your costs but you could have parents pay for this service.
Health, safety and hygiene procedures must be in place when wherever food preparation occurs. You are protecting not only the children you feed but also yourself and your day care business. You must be able to prove that you are not to blame should a case of food poisoning break out. This can be achieved by formulating a food safety policy which will detail all the steps and procedures in place at your day care to achieve food safety.
Surf the net for ideas from other day care websites as many post their menus online.
Arrange visits to day cares locally and ask about their food options. Your day care licensing representative will doubtless have hints and information brochures to help get you started. The key thing to bear in mind is that daycare menus shouldn't be complicated, just simple, honest to goodness nourishing food.