Tips For Childcare Menus/Meals
Having your own Home Childcare comes with a lot of responsibility, food being one of them. It is your choice whether you want to provide meals or have parents bring them in for the children. Regardless, it is important to have a set meal plan that you can clearly communicate to parents. Be aware of any allergies children may have as well as any dietary restrictions. If you are going to be providing meals and snacks, it is vital you have a weekly meal plan posted and readily available for parents to access at any point of their day.
Before you even begin to prepare meals, you need to think of safety first. Make sure your hands are properly washed before and after preparing and serving food. The areas you are preparing food on, as well as all your equipment, should be well sanitized and cleaned. Properly wash, prepare, and store the food you are using accordingly. Pay critical attention if any children have any allergies and dietary restrictions. It is also wise to have a separate dishes, utensils, and eating area prepared for them, depending on the severity of the allergies.
It is important to focus on the Five Food Groups - Grains, Protein, Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables and Fats and Sugars - and do your best to include at least one food item from three different Food Groups per meal. You can use this as an opportunity to teach children about the importance of the different Food Groups. Meals can be served in a fun way to increase the children’s likelihood of enjoying their meal.
Make Small, Repetitive Meals
Serving meals in smaller portions, compared to a big meal, is key when it comes to serving children. Oftentimes children want to grab a lot of food, not knowing if they like it. This is a waste of food and also discourage children from eating more. Provide children with small amounts, and if they are still hungry, you can add a little bit more. Some children may like certain foods from the start and others may not. It is important to take note of what each child likes and what they don’t like, as well as why if possible. You have the ability to reintroduce the same foods but served in a different manner to increase the likelihood of children enjoying it.
Simple Meals To Try
1 Pound Ground Beef
¼ cup or 1 Packet Taco Seasoning
1 Cup of Water
Salsa or Ketchup
Fry the ground beef until browned, add taco seasoning and water. Using Tostito scoops is easier for children than regular hard taco shells as they fall apart less. Fill the Tostito scoops with the ground beef, cheese, and salsa or ketchup. Optional, bake in a 350-degree oven to melt the cheese.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Cubes Chicken Bouillon
8 Cups of Water
2 Cups Thin Egg Noodles
1 Cup Sliced Carrots
½ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
Boil water in a large pot and add the chicken bouillon, and begin boiling the chicken until fully cooked. Next, you want to remove the chicken from the pot and cut it into small pieces. Add the noodles, oregano, salt, pepper, basil, and carrots to the pot. Bring this back to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes before serving.
Ham and Pasta Salad
16 Ounces of Ham or Turkey Ham, Cubed
4 Cups Elbow Macaroni Pasta
1-½ Cups Miracle Whip
12 Ounces Mild Cheddar, Cubed
½ tsp Pepper
8 Ounces Canned Peas
Bringing a large half full pot with water to a boil, add macaroni and reduce to medium heat. Cook the macaroni al dente and then transfer to a large bowl. Add the cheese, miracle whip, ham, and pepper, adding the peas last to avoid squishing them, to the bowl and mix well. This is best served chilled overnight, if you want to eat it earlier make sure it is refrigerated for a minimum of 2-3 hours.
BBQ Chicken Rounds
This is the fastest one of all!
Shredded Cooked Chicken
Simply place the flatbread on a baking sheet or pan, and add about 1 tsp of barbecue sauce on each flat bread. Place the cooked shredded chicken and shredded cheese on the flat bread and bake at 350-degrees for 8 minutes. The rounds are best served warm.
When it comes to providing meals at your home child care centre, it is very important that you plan out the meals. Children can be quite picky on food, so make sure to have a very diverse menu. The recipes that we provided will make for delicious meals for children.