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Daycare Menus, Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Ideas>Infant Room Teacher
Debbitx 10:40 PM 08-16-2013
I've got ONE child who is a vegetarian. We serve meals at our center. What I am wondering is....
1) Am I required to provide a separate vegetarian lunch for this one child?
2) If his mother opts to provide his lunch, does it have to be ready to eat items
or is the center obligated to heat/cook his food items.
3) IF his mother bring lunch items that require individual preparation, am I
allowed to charge an additional fee to her monthly tuition.

I would love to hear from other centers who serve a small number of children with special needs (not a medical dietary restriction) ~~Mrs. Debbi
Michael 12:57 AM 08-17-2013
Welcome to the forum!

You can check you state's standards.

Here is what they say for Texas:

How do I meet the needs of children who require special diets or do not want to eat foods I serve?
Subchapter Q, Nutrition and Food Service

(a) You must have written approval from a physician or a registered or licensed dietician in the child's records to serve a child a therapeutic or special diet.
(b) You must discuss recurring eating problems with the child’s parent.
(c) You may encourage, but not force children to eat.
(d) You must not serve nutrient concentrates and supplements such as protein powders, liquid protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nonfood substances without written instructions from a health-care professional.
Angelsj 07:42 AM 08-17-2013
I am not sure vegetarianism would be considered a special need. Why not just leave out the things he cannot have, and maybe give him a bit more of the fruit/veggie stuff you are having?
melilley 11:23 AM 08-17-2013
I have worked in a center where I had a toddler who was a vegetarian. We would just exclude the meat from the meal. We also asked the parents to bring in extra food just in case for some reason the meat couldn't be taken out. They brought in cheese and these toddler bean dinners that we just microwaved. He would eat the fruits, veggies, dairy, and grains that the center served.
We also had some children with dairy allergies so we would just serve everything but the dairy and the parents brought in the milk replacement such as soy milk. We also had gluten free children and the parents would either pack a ready to eat lunch or would send in gluten free bread and snacks and the children would eat the center food except for the grain part.

I worked in a fairly large center and for us it wasn't a big deal to leave out whatever the child couldn't have and/or serve a replacement that the parents would supply or for the parents to just pack a lunch everyday. We gave the parents an option of what they wanted.
Hunni Bee 08:14 PM 08-18-2013
At the preschool I work at, they do a whole separate vegetarian menu. There is always a meat free (or meat substitute eww) entree prepared.

But we have a very large number of Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian families who do either are vegetarian or pork-free, or don't trust the meat we serve.

I would just have the parent supply ready to eat vegetarian options. If you consistently just omit the meat from his meals, he will missing out on a lot of protein. If she just wants to supply the entree, that will probably work but they should be ready to serve. Heating up one kids meal separately will get old.
MrsSteinel'sHouse 10:23 AM 08-19-2013
If I had a child that was vegetarian I would make the adjustments so that I could still have them on the food program. It shouldn't be *that* hard to do if they still eat dairy and are not vegan. If your doing spaghetti in meat sauce, just keep some plain and sprinkle with cheese or keep out some sauce without meat. If your having hamburgers, grilled cheese or if you want to go the extra mile have a vegie burger available or if baked beans is a side that would count as a protein just add some carrot sticks for his veg. I really wouldn't think this would be an issue. I always have at least one and generally two or three meatless days at my house a week anyway! Honestly, this child will probably save you food cost
Tags:special meals, teacher, texas member
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