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Old 05-12-2015, 07:36 AM
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Default Lunch and Snack Battle

How do you make normal meals for you daycare kids and they eat it?

By normal I mean something that you'd make for your family for dinner.

Mickey Mouse Chicken Nuggets is an example of what one of my DCB's gets at home. So I battle him when it comes to eating. He won't even eat a cutie. His Dad had no idea what one was even which is super sad.

Suggestions? Or ideas on foods to make to ease into regular food that doesn't have a flippin' cartoon character on it?

The kid wouldn't even eat yogurt unless you could squeeze it.

I've talked to you about issues with this family before, and I know I should term, but I'm still giving it a good try before I do.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:05 AM
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I serve and the dcks either eat or don't. I don't do a battle at the table. I go through this with parents during the interview, as well.

I always tell them that they don't have to eat but that they do need to sit quietly while everyone else finishes.

I serve what my family would get. My kids also get the same deal: either eat or not.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:13 AM
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I agree ^^^

My job is to make a healthy meal and the children's job is to eat the meal. If they don't, then tough cookies. Same goes for my kiddo as well.

It is not always easy, but once you relinquish control it becomes much easier. And with some children once they sense that you have let go then they start to eat...go figure
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:45 AM
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I've had a number of kids start out at my daycare as picky eaters, and learn to love all kinds of food.

First, I have a very frank conversation with DCM or DCD that their child does not enjoy my meals and snacks, and therefore barely eats. I am aware that they are coming home starving/thirsting. I explain briefly some of the CACFP requirements of what and how much I must offer. I let them know that with calm persistence, the child will come around (and not starve to death in the meantime).

When serving the children, I bring the food to them at the table and I offer some of everything. If a child declines to eat a component (for some it's meat, most often it a veggie), that's fine. I offered it, they declined, and it wasn't wasted. I make no comment and move on. Then if that child asks for second helpings, the only thing I offer is what they wouldn't eat before. Calmly, and with no explanation:

DCK: I'm still hungry. I want more chicken.
Me: You may have some broccoli. Would you like me to put some on your plate?
DCK: No. I want chicken! (To this I do not reply and direct my attention elsewhere)

What I do next I know some will not agree with me. It works for me, and I really don't feel like it creates any bad habits, and it really speeds along remedying a picky-eater. The children that ate a balanced meal or snack is rewarded with a single M&M, Smartie, jelly bean, mini marshmallow, or Skittle. A single one. They love it. It only takes about a week and maybe one more day for the picky eater to come around.

Before I started rewarding with the candy, I had a 3.5yo DCG once that was very stubborn about eating. No matter how much I cajoled or encouraged "peer pressure" from her little friends, she would not eat or drink milk even for the entire 9 hours she was here. She would get so crabby as the day wore on. I started making her lay down immediately after lunch (we have about an hour before naptime) under the pretense that she must have a tummy ache if she can't eat. And I would make sure we did something extra fun that she missed. Well, it wasn't long before she started eating. All I had to do was ask if she had a tummy ache when I could see she was being difficult about food again-usually when something new she hadn't had before was being served. So that worked, too.

That's my 2-cents. Bottom line. If you are calm, nonchalant, and keep the parents abreast of the situation, the kids will come around. After all, healthier foods DO taste very good, and they will figure out that they feel better themselves after eating it.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:51 AM
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I just remember what that little girl said to me as I set her breakfast in front of her on her first day here. My oldest DS will still sometimes repeat it as a joke.

"I like chicken nuggets and hot dogs and that's all I'll eat...and I don't. drink. milk."

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Old 05-12-2015, 10:38 AM
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Ok, i will be the odd ball here, and I know my reply probably won't help with your issue OP, but I'll throw this out there.......

Your lunch problem is exactly why I don't serve lunch. Kids bring lunch from home in a lunch box and I simply plate it and heat up as needed. It is truly a wonderful thing and works so well for me! Yes, I have lunch guidelines that parents must follow....no candy, no cakes, no Doritos, or anything junk food. Lunch must contain a protein, grain, fruit or veggie and dairy. I have zero issues of "I don't like thaaaaaaat". Parents pack things they know their kids will eat. And they eat it. Done. I DO provide morning and afternoon snacks, all kid friendly and proven popular. I also provide milk or juice. It may SOUND like a huge hassle to deal with 12 to 15 lunch boxes and all the containers, but honestly, its not. Containers and bags are labeled w names. Its VERY easy and the kids do truly enjoy their own foods. In fact, most parents choose my center because i DON'T serve lunch. They like knowing exactly what their kids are eating, buy organic, be vegetarian, be glucose free, be Jewish, etc. I had a new mom tell me she left a center because their child wouldn't eat the food served.

I have a friend that does serve 2 meals and a snack. She, like all of you, spends an inordinate amount of time planning, shopping, preparing and administering the food program details. It works for her, and many of you, and I applaud that. It doesn't work for me.

No, I don't participate in the food program for my snacks either. I buy it, save the receipt and write it off my taxes. I don't care about the money anyways, compared to the hoops you all on the program have to jump through.

Anyway, sorry if this wasn't helpful, but I do like to preach the ease of BYOL.
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by childcaremom View Post
I serve and the dcks either eat or don't. I don't do a battle at the table. I go through this with parents during the interview, as well.

I always tell them that they don't have to eat but that they do need to sit quietly while everyone else finishes.

I serve what my family would get. My kids also get the same deal: either eat or not.
I do something similar. If they don't eat what I make, I don't really worry too much about it. I'll just mention to parents that their child didn't eat well at lunch so they will probably be hungry.

Also, I don't even know what a cutie is??
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:36 AM
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Cuties are cute lil baby oranges🍊🍊🍊
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Sugar Magnolia View Post
Cuties are cute lil baby oranges🍊🍊🍊
ohhhh! I googled it as well. I think it must be an American brand of manderins. I just call them manderins D
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:14 PM
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I'm the same. I have my own 3 week rotating menu that follows the Food Program guidelines. I offer the food. If they don't want to eat then that's fine but I don't make them anything else and don't give seconds on anything until everything is gone first. I've never really had trouble with a child never eating. They eventually learn that what I serve is what they eat or they go hungry til next time. They also usually seem to like the things I serve (spaghetti, meatballs and rice, beef n gravy with egg noodles, cx and rice, etc.) simple child friendly foods but not all out junk. Offer the food you fix. If they don't eat, don't stress.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugar Magnolia View Post
Ok, i will be the odd ball here, and I know my reply probably won't help with your issue OP, but I'll throw this out there.......

Your lunch problem is exactly why I don't serve lunch. Kids bring lunch from home in a lunch box and I simply plate it and heat up as needed. It is truly a wonderful thing and works so well for me! Yes, I have lunch guidelines that parents must follow....no candy, no cakes, no Doritos, or anything junk food. Lunch must contain a protein, grain, fruit or veggie and dairy. I have zero issues of "I don't like thaaaaaaat". Parents pack things they know their kids will eat. And they eat it. Done. I DO provide morning and afternoon snacks, all kid friendly and proven popular. I also provide milk or juice. It may SOUND like a huge hassle to deal with 12 to 15 lunch boxes and all the containers, but honestly, its not. Containers and bags are labeled w names. Its VERY easy and the kids do truly enjoy their own foods. In fact, most parents choose my center because i DON'T serve lunch. They like knowing exactly what their kids are eating, buy organic, be vegetarian, be glucose free, be Jewish, etc. I had a new mom tell me she left a center because their child wouldn't eat the food served.

I have a friend that does serve 2 meals and a snack. She, like all of you, spends an inordinate amount of time planning, shopping, preparing and administering the food program details. It works for her, and many of you, and I applaud that. It doesn't work for me.

No, I don't participate in the food program for my snacks either. I buy it, save the receipt and write it off my taxes. I don't care about the money anyways, compared to the hoops you all on the program have to jump through.

Anyway, sorry if this wasn't helpful, but I do like to preach the ease of BYOL.
Today, you are my hero! I would to do this! I don't think it would go over well in my parts. I think the food program participation is expected if you are licensed. If I could watch 5 kids (limit is 3), I would drop licensing and food program in a heartbeat. I just want to be the "neighborhood babysitter" of yesteryear...
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by KIDZRMYBIZ View Post
Today, you are my hero! I would to do this! I don't think it would go over well in my parts. I think the food program participation is expected if you are licensed. If I could watch 5 kids (limit is 3), I would drop licensing and food program in a heartbeat. I just want to be the "neighborhood babysitter" of yesteryear...
Run it by your parents.......you never know! Hmmm, ecpected vs required.....I dunno, ask licensing. I have made a successful center by being different and thinking outside the box. You may be pleasantly surprised to find not all parents want, or expect, a served lunch. Best wishes.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:05 PM
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Run it by your parents.......you never know! Hmmm, ecpected vs required.....I dunno, ask licensing. I have made a successful center by being different and thinking outside the box. You may be pleasantly surprised to find not all parents want, or expect, a served lunch. Best wishes.
I thought about doing this when I reopened. Prepping/planning meals is my least favourite time of the day.

Do you heat meals for them or require it be something unheated?

I am filing this away for the future
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:53 PM
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I thought about doing this when I reopened. Prepping/planning meals is my least favourite time of the day.

Do you heat meals for them or require it be something unheated?

I am filing this away for the future
Yes I do heat things in the microwave. I won't cook things in the microwave though (like easy mac)! Fridge and microwave are my only kitchen equipment. It's really, really sweet. No whining, no issues at all really. I DO keep food on hand in case someone forgets lunch. One time, dcm forgot lunch, promised to return with lunch at lunchtime. Uh, it was a Happy Meal. I expected a riot. No riot happened. The group has been well programmed to know "that is his lunch, this is your lunch". Since everybody BYOL, everybody gets "special". It's EASY PIE y'all.

ETA.....oh and NO DISHES. I rinse out containers (piss ant prevention) and return to lunch box. Wicked easy.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:38 PM
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I never let lunch be a battle. I give them their lunch, they eat or don't. But they do have to sit with their plate until everyone is done. I have one 16 month old who won't eat anything for mom and she is amazed what she eats at daycare. But it's because I don't battle with her. She will only eat spaghetti and pizza at home, and refuses to drink out of a cup. She eats everything for me and usually drinks several cups of milk out of an open cup for me.

I have told mom how lunches/snacks are handled in my room, but it doesn't work at home. Hmmm...could it be because mom gives in and lets her eat junk? Lol
I absolutely refuse to argue with a 1 year old about eating!
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:41 PM
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I cook and they either eat or go hungry.
It's that simple.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:03 AM
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Haha well, I have to say the 'cutie' example doesn't really work because that is just a brand. I refuse to call tangerines 'cuties'! And my husband, who does .01% of our grocery shopping definitely has no idea what a 'cutie' brand mandarin is by that name so he would have been just as confused. And we eat 'normal' real food. A also do a lot of shopping at our local produce stand and farmers market- no cuties but a billion different types of oranges!

Anyway, where I work we heat up brought lunches. Where I worked in the past, we served healthy and you eat it or not! On the parent side, I'm glad my son is there where I provide lunch because what teachers/directors think is healthy is not actually better than what I want to give my son. They don't know that original triscuits for example, have 3 ingredients and are a very good source of whole grains which are in fact necessary for a healthy diet. They say, 'oh crackers, can't have those'... :/
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:35 AM
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If a child is so picky that they will skip breakfast, morning snack, and lunch....they will probably eat afternoon snack. I make what I make and it is all healthy options made from scratch. Children will eventually try something if they are hungry enough. I feel I am doing more harm by giving in and offering processed junk than to teach them and nurish their body.
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Old 05-13-2015, 02:51 PM
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I had good eaters until the new girl (4 1/2) started. She is big on "that's yucky" and "I won't eat that." Shrug, That's fine. Then the little one started imitating and not eating. We had some cranky afternoons! I talked to her about setting an example, mom talked to her. Finally, one day I pulled out the container of Mac and cheese I had fixed earlier. Without even knowing what it was she started "yucky, I'm not eating that". So I put everything else on her plate except that while DCB got Mac. She was backing up fast "Oh, I like that." I didn't let her have it, and she had a blue ribbon worthy drama queen meltdown and was sent away from the table. I've never heard another negative word about food from her. She makes a point to taste everything and be sure I know she tried. Mom was thrilled. It's made things easier at home too.
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Old 05-13-2015, 02:56 PM
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ohhhh! I googled it as well. I think it must be an American brand of manderins. I just call them manderins D
Another name is clementines
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Old 05-13-2015, 03:02 PM
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I had good eaters until the new girl (4 1/2) started. She is big on "that's yucky" and "I won't eat that." Shrug, That's fine. Then the little one started imitating and not eating. We had some cranky afternoons! I talked to her about setting an example, mom talked to her. Finally, one day I pulled out the container of Mac and cheese I had fixed earlier. Without even knowing what it was she started "yucky, I'm not eating that". So I put everything else on her plate except that while DCB got Mac. She was backing up fast "Oh, I like that." I didn't let her have it, and she had a blue ribbon worthy drama queen meltdown and was sent away from the table. I've never heard another negative word about food from her. She makes a point to taste everything and be sure I know she tried. Mom was thrilled. It's made things easier at home too.
I don't allow negative comments about food. You can choose not to eat it, but you can't be mouthy about it because it is contagious.
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Old 05-13-2015, 06:50 PM
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I don't allow negative comments about food. You can choose not to eat it, but you can't be mouthy about it because it is contagious.
She actually took me by surprise. The only food issues I've ever had here were not getting it on the table fast enough. This is her first time in daycare having been home with mom for 4 1/2 years. I was low key about it, telling her that was not polite and we didn't make rude comments when other people fixed us food. I wasn't really bothered at first. She's a real sweetheart and I thought it was just an adjustment she would get past. Instead, it got worse, and at that point, I got firm.
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:57 AM
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I have a couple dcks who refuse to try new things. Forget veggies and there are only a couple fruits they'll eat. If you gave them nothing but carbs all day they'd be happy as clams.
I've tried many times many ways to have them try their other food items but they're stubborn little things and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle because they get catered to at home. I always try to serve things I know they'll eat so they get something. But it can get cranky here all day with empty little bellies and such strong wills.
And forget it if you serve foods that are mixed together. We had chicken biscuit pie this week, thinking they'd eat the biscuit off the top. Haha yeh. What was I thinking....
It's frustrating and disheartening. Kids are weird when it comes to eating, that's for sure. I have a SA dcg and there isn't much she likes but she'll eat beets. Then 1 dcg who eats everything except beets.
I try not to make an issue about eating but it's hard. My sweet little 3 yo will actually sit there and cry if she sees what's for lunch and she doesn't like it. It's hard to be the 'bad guy' when dcps do what is the easiest for them.
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:19 AM
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I find that no matter how you handle food, it's always an issue.

If you provide, you will have parents upset because it's not healthy enough, or it's "too" healthy, etc. If you don't provide you may lose out on potential clients - I have a new family that came from a place that didn't provide food - every Sunday was spent prepping dc meals for the week. She's loving that she doesn't have to do that now...but...she's constantly sending food in

This is one area I will not miss when I leave day care.
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:31 AM
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I'm in Canada (no food program as far as I know) and I do the same as Sugar Magnolia. For 4 years I provided lunch and it was always a battle. So many picky kids and kids with sensory issues and I got so tired of the tears. Now lunch is brought from home. I will microwave it if needed, serve it up, and all is good! No fights, no "ewww I don't like this". Lunch is simple and painless! I provide snacks but the parents actually end up packing those as well.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:53 AM
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I don't have issues with food.

I provide the food. I serve a morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack. All kids are served the same thing. Unless there is a medical reason.

If kids choose not to eat or only eat a portion of what's on their plate, that is fine. I don't care.
There is no seconds however, unless you have a clean plate.

If one child is finished sooner than the others, they are free to leave the table and go straight to rest time. (there are no other options). Kids are welcome to stay sitting until lunch is over if they want to continue conversing with the other kids.

Once lunch is over, the kids go to the bathroom and get ready for rest time.

I don't spend hours planning menus, shopping for supplies, cooking or cleaning up afterwards. It's a routine and one I do every day. From start to finish it's autopilot. Prep begins at 11:00, lunch is served at 11:30, clean up starts at 12:00-12:15 and everyone is lying down and resting by 12:45.

Lunch is simple in my opinion if you don't allow it to be complicated.

Having parents supply lunch...ugh! That would be complicated for me. I've seen how some of these families eat. I have one mom that seriously thinks fruit snacks are a fruit.
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