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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Parent Requesting Vegan Meals
LittleScholars 07:11 AM 03-14-2018
My apologies-- I really feel like I remember someone asking a similar question, but I can't seem to find the thread.

I think my question is: how would you respond to the following question? I want to make sure I'm being thoughtful and giving accurate information.

Backstory: A family was referred to me by another great family and they would seemingly be a great fit. I don't have space for them until (maybe) fall 2019, but I see great potential in them. They just mentioned they are vegans, which complicates things. Mom offered to supply food, but I'm on the food program and that is not something I'm willing to do. The food program will allow her to supply one component of the meal and still consider it credible. On some days, this would work fine. On others, it wouldn't.

Things to consider: I'm not willing to change my meals. I make great, healthy meals. This works well and I already spend the most time I'm willing to doing this. I'm also not willing to have this impact my food program status. I also don't want parents supplying food and I fear this could open a can of worms. With that being said, I do really like them and totally respect their choice of diet. I do hate that this is probably a deal breaker.
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Snowmom 07:21 AM 03-14-2018
They are willing to wait a year and half to enroll?

If it were me, I'd start with telling them I'd be happy to put you on my waitlist and let you know when I have an opening available. When an opening does come up, then I'd reevaluate whether I'd be willing to take on the dietary needs.
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LittleScholars 07:38 AM 03-14-2018
Originally Posted by Snowmom:
They are willing to wait a year and half to enroll?

If it were me, I'd start with telling them I'd be happy to put you on my waitlist and let you know when I have an opening available. When an opening does come up, then I'd reevaluate whether I'd be willing to take on the dietary needs.
Oh, yes. Wait lists are insane here. Years long. That part is standard business and it is only ever a maybe. Parents like to do the best planning they can and I'm happy to support that. It is a tough market.

I don't want to give her false hope if I know it won't work out (she's made it clear this is a top choice). I doubt I'll feel differently in a year, so I'd like to be clear about it now. Does that make sense?
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Snowmom 08:01 AM 03-14-2018
That's great!

In that case, I would explain exactly what meals look like at your house. If you have menus, then I would email her a copy of one as well. Explain how you make healthy choices in your program and you do not allow outside food as it not only creates issues with the other children but you also need to look out for allergens in your environment.
I would close with "If that works for you, I'd be happy to proceed with putting you on my contact list for future openings."

If after that, she asks if you will cook a vegan only meal, I would tell her your schedule just does not allow for that.
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LittleScholars 08:24 AM 03-14-2018
Originally Posted by Snowmom:
That's great!

In that case, I would explain exactly what meals look like at your house. If you have menus, then I would email her a copy of one as well. Explain how you make healthy choices in your program and you do not allow outside food as it not only creates issues with the other children but you also need to look out for allergens in your environment.
I would close with "If that works for you, I'd be happy to proceed with putting you on my contact list for future openings."

If after that, she asks if you will cook a vegan only meal, I would tell her your schedule just does not allow for that.
Thank you! I think I just needed someone to tell me it is ok to say I can't cook vegan meals. I feel really bad, but I know if I agree to take that on I will soon regret it.
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TheMisplacedMidwestMom 08:29 AM 03-14-2018
I feel like with daycare part of choosing a program that works for your particular family is choosing one that serves meals that work for your family. Asking a provider to change her menu to fit your family would, imo, would be like asking her to change her nap time because it didn't fit the schedule your child was on. It's always ok to ask, but not ok to expect that they bend and cater (if that makes sense).

I would just provide her with a sample menu, and politely let her know that these are the meals that are served in your program.
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LittleScholars 08:47 AM 03-14-2018
Originally Posted by TheMisplacedMidwestMom:
I feel like with daycare part of choosing a program that works for your particular family is choosing one that serves meals that work for your family. Asking a provider to change her menu to fit your family would, imo, would be like asking her to change her nap time because it didn't fit the schedule your child was on. It's always ok to ask, but not ok to expect that they bend and cater (if that makes sense).

I would just provide her with a sample menu, and politely let her know that these are the meals that are served in your program.
Great advice! I will do just that.
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Silly Songs 12:38 PM 03-14-2018
Why canít you provide a vegan meal on the food program ?
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AmyKidsCo 01:08 PM 03-14-2018
If your program doesn't provide vegan meals then they're not a good fit for your program.

I do have a vegetarian (doesn't eat anything that was alive but can have eggs, cheese, beans) AND 2 dairy-free (1 is life-threatening allergy, the other a sensitivity) so I'm constantly adjusting meals. I still get food program reimbursement for all the meals and my sponsor doesn't make me record all the adjustments, just what most of the children eat.
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hwichlaz 01:09 PM 03-14-2018
Originally Posted by Silly Songs:
Why canít you provide a vegan meal on the food program ?
No one said you canít. You can certainly feed them beans and soy milk at every meal. But cooking a different meal for one child, than you are making for the others, puts more of a burden on her than she is willing to take on. Thatís okay too.
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ColorfulSunburst 10:46 PM 03-14-2018
Originally Posted by LittleScholars:
Thank you! I think I just needed someone to tell me it is ok to say I can't cook vegan meals. I feel really bad, but I know if I agree to take that on I will soon regret it.
I am not on the food program but I have 2 vegetarians and one vegan here(+ two allergic for egg and one for fish). It doesn't give me too much problems. Food on plates of all kids looks very alike. I just use meat substitutes ... and help of three assistants. If I have no assistants I could't take a vegan for sure.
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LittleScholars 04:27 AM 03-15-2018
Originally Posted by ColorfulSunburst:
I am not on the food program but I have 2 vegetarians and one vegan here(+ two allergic for egg and one for fish). It doesn't give me too much problems. Food on plates of all kids looks very alike. I just use meat substitutes ... and help of three assistants. If I have no assistants I could't take a vegan for sure.
That's where I am. It is an additional thing I can't take on, as I work solo.

Thank you, everyone, for the input!
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LittleScholars 04:52 AM 03-15-2018
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo:
If your program doesn't provide vegan meals then they're not a good fit for your program.

I do have a vegetarian (doesn't eat anything that was alive but can have eggs, cheese, beans) AND 2 dairy-free (1 is life-threatening allergy, the other a sensitivity) so I'm constantly adjusting meals. I still get food program reimbursement for all the meals and my sponsor doesn't make me record all the adjustments, just what most of the children eat.
I think I could get away without recording all of the adjustments. I've had a handful of dairy sensitivities over the years and that has been fine, although it did require a doctor's note. I'm actually note sure how that works with a child that chooses a vegan diet.

I make a lot of casserole type things in my instant pot so I worry most about those days. For example, today we're having a chicken, brown rice, and vegetable dish, so even if I didn't serve the chicken to this child it really wouldn't be vegan.
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CityGarden 02:33 PM 03-15-2018
To me it does not matter how nice they are you are stating (1) you are not willing to make vegan meals and (2) you also will not allow dcm to provide meals. I think dcm is being reasonable by not asking you to provide vegan meals and offering to provide them herself but since you don't want to allow that then it is best to just decline her the spot.

FWIW I live in Southern California where everyone is so picky with their diet and their child's diet that I love kids bringing in their own lunches. I'm not on the food program but I can tell you none of my clients give their children cow milk it's almond/ soy / coconut / cashew.... if I can't even get a single milk could you imagine me trying to provide all meals.
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CityGarden 02:34 PM 03-15-2018
I am supportive of vegans but just saw this online.... and it made me laugh.
Attached: vegans.jpg (93.7 KB) 
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LittleScholars 07:42 AM 03-16-2018
Originally Posted by CityGarden:
To me it does not matter how nice they are you are stating (1) you are not willing to make vegan meals and (2) you also will not allow dcm to provide meals. I think dcm is being reasonable by not asking you to provide vegan meals and offering to provide them herself but since you don't want to allow that then it is best to just decline her the spot.

FWIW I live in Southern California where everyone is so picky with their diet and their child's diet that I love kids bringing in their own lunches. I'm not on the food program but I can tell you none of my clients give their children cow milk it's almond/ soy / coconut / cashew.... if I can't even get a single milk could you imagine me trying to provide all meals.
I only have two milk drinkers, but excluding milk did require a doctor's note. I'm really fine with that level of modification. I personally don't eat much meat and I don't drink cow's milk, so my meals sort of reflect that. For me, having kids bring meals would be a nightmare. I'd have three really healthy eaters and the rest would eat crackers. I love that kids are given the opportunity to try new foods here. According to the parents, many kids try and eat things here they never would at home. I really like that aspect of the program and don't see home lunches working well. Also, I find parents expect a discount when bringing lunches. Do you find the same?
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LittleScholars 07:42 AM 03-16-2018
Originally Posted by CityGarden:
I am supportive of vegans but just saw this online.... and it made me laugh.

Haha!! I'm also supportive of vegans, but I love this.
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HappyEverAfter 08:23 AM 03-16-2018
I do not allow outside foods of any kind for children one year and older. I tell parents it causes jealousy issues with the other kids and also point out that I have one child with several severe allergies that heís had to be hospitalized for before so I need to be in total control of what foods are around the kids. I also wouldnít offer to make vegan meals for this one child. It would sound to me as if this child would be better off finding a program that offers either vegan meals or a bring your own meal option.
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Blackcat31 09:24 AM 03-16-2018
No offense to any parent that chooses to eat an alternate diet.... I just don't care to accommodate that.

I have enough daily duties that I serve ONE meal with LOTS of components and 2 snacks and that's it.

If someone wants a different type of meal other than what I serve, I am not the right fit for them.

If a child has severe allergies (food related) and they are something I can accommodate I certainly will but that's the extend to my "alternate meal" options
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Unregistered 03:46 PM 03-16-2018
If you don't wish to accommodate the needs of a potential customer, can't you just tell them upfront asap? Seems like you want to meet them on the back burner as potential which is not fair to them
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LittleScholars 09:22 AM 03-19-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
If you don't wish to accommodate the needs of a potential customer, can't you just tell them upfront asap? Seems like you want to meet them on the back burner as potential which is not fair to them
Untrue. My question was how I should respond to this parent. I'm not sure what indicates I want to meet them on the back burner.
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LittleScholars 09:24 AM 03-19-2018
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
No offense to any parent that chooses to eat an alternate diet.... I just don't care to accommodate that.

I have enough daily duties that I serve ONE meal with LOTS of components and 2 snacks and that's it.

If someone wants a different type of meal other than what I serve, I am not the right fit for them.

If a child has severe allergies (food related) and they are something I can accommodate I certainly will but that's the extend to my "alternate meal" options
I think this is where I am now. I really want to make it work with this family, but meal prep is such an enormous task that I really can't do much accommodating.
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