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Daycare Menus, Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Ideas>Simple Menus For Preschool & Childcare Center?
Unregistered 05:35 AM 05-23-2018
More to that - I am one person feeding an average of 30-35 preschoolers and 8 toddlers.

Our (commercial) kitchen is small and there's not really much for storage space. I've been doing fine. But with the hot weather kicking up, I've been looking for some new ideas that won't nearly kill me from heat exhaustion. There's no ventilation or ac in the kitchen, so the oven or two burner stove top are dreaded tools, ha ha. Boiling peas has been known to set off our smoke alarms.

Anyone work in a center or preschool setting and have quick and easy ideas? I'm not full-time, usually 8:30 to about 2 are my hours, though two days per week are hot breakfast mornings and I start at 7. I do a.m. and p.m. snacks, breakfast and lunch. Not having much trouble with any of them, but would like to figure out a way to streamline lunch time (btw, no "warmer" to hold foods either), to make it more simple and less stressful for myself.
CalCare 06:33 AM 05-23-2018
Where I used to work, there was a cart for taking food and supplies to each class which was very handy. A cart for each class. You loaded it up with self serve dishes- with lids on, and serving spoons, small plates per a child and adult (plus 2 extra), spoons per a person plus two extra for drops which happened every day, a bin for dirty dishes (on the bottom level of the Cary, children put their dirty cup, plate and spoon in when finished), stack of small plastic cups, napkins and a large container of milk inside an ice bucket to keep at temp as well as a small children's pouting pitcher which comes to the room empty but the teacher purs a little milk in right when they all sit down and the children self serve milk.
Teachers sit at tables with about 6 kids each.
Fruit and veggie platter is passed, then protein, then, carb. No one "must" eat anything they don't want. As each child finishes, they clear.their setting to the bin, napkin in separate bin, and lie down on mats prepped (during or before lunch).

For menus, a monthly menu is posted and often repeateded. They were on the food program and had to have the clipboard on the food cart as well(for paperwork on who was there and was served).. typical items were mon- fish sticks (the only least healthy thing which everyone loved lol), green beans, apple slices and milk. Tues- whole wheat home made Mac n cheese, peas and carrots, and apple sauce. Wed- baked chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and fruit salad... Etc
I believe that cart was the saving grace of crazy lunch time! Now in my family childcare, I don't do a cart, having just 6 kids. But I do have the bin for kids dishes and the little trash can and a pack of wipes all right next to the table with a poster I made about what to do: 1. Throw away trash, 2. Put plate in bin., 3. Wipe hands and face. (With little drawing of each)...
I bring everything out in the very beginning, on a tray (like the cart) so I don't have to go back for anything. I don't bother with the milk thing simple because I don't want to spend money on ANOTHER item - kids pitcher and ice bucket for milk. So I pour it for them and close with straw lids (the take and toss kind).
Anyway, I hope something of all this is of any use to you... Or anyone reading!
CalCare 06:39 AM 05-23-2018
Oh and every day, the first job is to load up the cart with non food items: plates, cups, napkins, serving spoons, kid spoons, dirty dishes bin. Then you go about your time prepping the non hot food that can go on the cart: fruit salad, then cook your pasta protein and veggies. Put it all on as last minute as you can and send it away to classes. Of course, it takes some practice getting to know how close you can cut it with hot food and serving time! But you'll get there and if not, they have a cold pasta which won't kill anyone! We rarely served any meat. It would be fish sticks two or three times a month, but generally protein in the form of dairy or plant protein...
Unregistered 01:23 PM 05-23-2018
Thanks for your reply. I do use a three shelves cart and do similarly as you had.

My plates, forks and cups all go on the 2nd shelf. The bottom has two bins for collecting their dirties when they finish. Also, on the bottom, is where I set the milk(s) right before serving time. Top holds all the serving tools and foods. That preschool room has 20 children.

Prior to delivering that cart I use more bins to load the same items for the toddlers' room, which is down some steps and down a short hall, which usually takes two trips. The second preschool room is actually a second building, which used to be a garage in its previous life. I load more bins with everything needed and bring that out to them. That usually takes me two or three trips out to deliver. Oh, and there's a baby-turning-into-a-toddler that I make a plate for and drop off in the infant room, which is in that short hallway before the toddler room. When all's been delivered, nearly every day I "break" one of the infant teachers, where I lose 30-60mns of my prepping/planning/cleaning time. I try to make enough servings so all the teachers can eat. But I draw the line at making them plates as was originally wanted of me and tell them to fend for themselves.

I guess the biggest problem is that the second preschool room is in another building (stinks delivering and picking up later when it's a blizzard or raining), followed by the few stairs between the main preschool and the toddlers. That's why I only have one cart. I just feel like there has to be a better way, grr.
hwichlaz 01:18 PM 05-25-2018
flossie 12:12 PM 05-26-2018
Thank you for posting the link. I actually have looked at that already. What I learned from it was that I've been making it harder on myself than necessary, ha ha.

At my second (weekend) job I had a chance to talk with a coworker who is a teacher at a preschool in a nearby city. While we were talking she mentioned that their snacks are the same weekly = 5 days that they just repeat. Duh! I've been driving myself nuts trying to come up with fun and different things when, apparently, kids sort of like knowing that (for example) yogurt with berries is for AM snack on Mondays and crackers with peanut butter is for PM snack, etc. Also, I've been trying to convert all snacks to water for the drink. One other tip that I find that's going to really help is skipping fruit at lunch (but offering two veggies) and using it for a snack instead. Genius!

You don't know what sort of peace of mind I have acquired since discovering this forum! Thank you to all the posters in this food topic section!
ellen211 12:01 AM 07-04-2018
Thank you for posting about this. This thread makes my life easier!
Tags:menu, menu - preschool, preschool
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