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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Head Start/Preschool Menus - Eye Opening
Baby Beluga 08:05 AM 03-09-2016
Out of curiosity I looked up (all day) head start and preschool programs in my area that are part of our school districts.

Holy cow.... the menus are awful!

One week consisted of:
Frosted fudge pop tart with milk
Cheese balls with apple juice
Graham crackers with chocolate milk
Apple juice and string cheese
Fruit loops and milk

Between breakfast, lunch and snack they are served 1 vegetable a day.

And right next to the posted menu there are signs stating "school meals just got healthier!" and a contest where children made pictures promoting healthy eating.

How are these kids not bouncing off the walls one minute and crashing the next?
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childcaremom 09:33 AM 03-09-2016
Yikes! If that is healthier, what were they serving before?
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Miss A 09:38 AM 03-09-2016
I worked in a center that was part of the CACFP, and their menu looked quite a bit like this. All carbs were over processed, like animal crackers, pop tarts, canned biscuits, "trail mix" that consisted of golden Graham cereal, marshmallows, and raisins. The only time the vegetables weren't frozen was once a month when they had fresh veggies bathed in ranch dressing. When the menu said chicken it was chucked from a can, and all other meals used canned ingredients like manwich for BBQ's. I was always shocked at what they were able to serve and still be reimbursed, until I realized they were serving the bare minimum so that they were able to profit from the FP.
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Blackcat31 09:42 AM 03-09-2016
Yes sadly most, if not all, of that meets the CACFP program requirements.
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Thriftylady 09:46 AM 03-09-2016
This is why kids won't even try healthy foods IMHO. They haven't been exposed to them and are afraid of them.
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sharlan 10:05 AM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by Baby Beluga:
Out of curiosity I looked up (all day) head start and preschool programs in my area that are part of our school districts.

Holy cow.... the menus are awful!

One week consisted of:
Frosted fudge pop tart with milk
Cheese balls with apple juice
Graham crackers with chocolate milk
Apple juice and string cheese
Fruit loops and milk

Between breakfast, lunch and snack they are served 1 vegetable a day.

And right next to the posted menu there are signs stating "school meals just got healthier!" and a contest where children made pictures promoting healthy eating.

How are these kids not bouncing off the walls one minute and crashing the next?
I can't serve any of the highlighted items and graham crackers fall under cookies and can only be served once a week.

I serve 100% oj once a week. No other juice.
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Unregistered 10:08 AM 03-09-2016
Yet it is totally possible to do healthy meals using the food program.
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Blackcat31 10:21 AM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by sharlan:
I can't serve any of the highlighted items and graham crackers fall under cookies and can only be served once a week.

I serve 100% oj once a week. No other juice.
The Federal USDA food program dictates what is and isn't credible. Although different agencies interpret the rules/guidelines differently

You CAN serve flavored milk. (page 16)

You CAN serve frosted toaster pastries (page 51)

You CAN serve ready-to eat cold cereals as long as they are whole grain, enriched OR fortified. (page 51)

Cookies are separated into different categories under Grains and graham crackers (plain) fall under the same category as bread and English muffins etc... Honey grahams or cinnamon graham crackers fall under the category of "sweetened" so those particular styles are recommended to be served no more than once per week.

My food program rep says to ALWAYS check the Credible Foods Handbook/Buying Guide and if you can find it in there, you can fight your agency if they don't agree and the Federal rules will always supercede each agencies interpretation
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Play Care 10:25 AM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
The Federal USDA food program dictates what is and isn't credible. Although different agencies interpret the rules/guidelines differently

You CAN serve flavored milk. (page 16)

You CAN serve frosted toaster pastries (page 51)

You CAN serve ready-to eat cold cereals as long as they are whole grain, enriched OR fortified. (page 51)

My food program rep says to ALWAYS check the Credible Foods Handbook/Buying Guide and if you can find it in there, you can fight your agency if they don't agree and the Federal rules will always supercede each agencies interpretation
Even if licensing also has the same rule?

For instance flavored milk isn't credible on my FP. And state regs forbid serving it.

Actually, now that I typed that out, I wonder if that's why they made the reg? To "get over" the Federal rule?
So yeah, you could serve it and argue it's credible but then you admit you're not following regs and get cited.
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sharlan 10:35 AM 03-09-2016
CA regs, not USDA, we can't serve flavored milk. We can only serve 1% or nonfat milk. We can also only serve 4 oz of 100% fruit juice per day.

My state analyst always asks to see my milk.

My food program lists all graham crackers under cookies, servable once a week. Sweetened cereals aren't allowed. Pop tarts aren't allowed. My food program doesn't list flavored milk, probably because the state doesn't allow it.

I did find donuts and muffins, but they are listed for snack only.

They are all so different.
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Josiegirl 10:35 AM 03-09-2016
During one of our FP trainings, providers were talking about what Headstart served. One day they had soup and saltines for lunch. Ok great but if a child didn't want any soup, only chose crackers, they were allowed as many as they wanted. Kids were eating stacks and stacks of crackers.
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Blackcat31 10:49 AM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
During one of our FP trainings, providers were talking about what Headstart served. One day they had soup and saltines for lunch. Ok great but if a child didn't want any soup, only chose crackers, they were allowed as many as they wanted. Kids were eating stacks and stacks of crackers.
Yes, this is how it was in my Head Start center as well.

Our meals we made on site but ALL the required food components were placed on the plate at the same time.

Each child was free to eat what ever they choose and of course, could have seconds of whatever they wished.

Of course 99.9% of all kids ate the fruit or bread and asked for seconds while not even giving the other components a second glance.
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Blackcat31 10:52 AM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by Play Care:
Even if licensing also has the same rule?

For instance flavored milk isn't credible on my FP. And state regs forbid serving it.

Actually, now that I typed that out, I wonder if that's why they made the reg? To "get over" the Federal rule?
So yeah, you could serve it and argue it's credible but then you admit you're not following regs and get cited.

Originally Posted by sharlan:
CA regs, not USDA, we can't serve flavored milk. We can only serve 1% or nonfat milk. We can also only serve 4 oz of 100% fruit juice per day.

My state analyst always asks to see my milk.

My food program lists all graham crackers under cookies, servable once a week. Sweetened cereals aren't allowed. Pop tarts aren't allowed. My food program doesn't list flavored milk, probably because the state doesn't allow it.

I did find donuts and muffins, but they are listed for snack only.

They are all so different.
I suppose state licensing regulations always over ride the Food Program ones but I know of a couple states that argued the Food Program guidelines and got their state licensing regulations to add the wording "if not participating in and following a USDA CACFP program......"

So the food program rules would be priority unless you did not join one, then the state rules apply but again, only if your state agrees.
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NillaWafers 01:25 PM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by sharlan:
CA regs, not USDA, we can't serve flavored milk. We can only serve 1% or nonfat milk. We can also only serve 4 oz of 100% fruit juice per day.

My state analyst always asks to see my milk.

My food program lists all graham crackers under cookies, servable once a week. Sweetened cereals aren't allowed. Pop tarts aren't allowed. My food program doesn't list flavored milk, probably because the state doesn't allow it.

I did find donuts and muffins, but they are listed for snack only.

They are all so different.
I hate serving 1% because it has more sugar. In fact, I'm pretty sure the US has a sugar/carb problem, not a fat problem. So I really hate that I could serve eggs with a good protein and fruit but it's not creditable because no carbs?

Too many carbs in the nutrition program but what can you do? I totally need to be reimbursed to serve the better organic food I buy
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Baby Beluga 01:31 PM 03-09-2016
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Yes sadly most, if not all, of that meets the CACFP program requirements.
It is so utterly and completely sad. I had no doubt that those items were credible, there was even a disclaimer at the bottom of the menu. But it's still so sad!

I get that we all have our "sometimes" junk food. But to eat those things every single day? And to eat them after having eaten a chocolate muffin for breakfast, pizza, corn and peaches for lunch...I think those children would have headaches, be cranky and sluggish
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Tags:food - unhealthy, food program, menus
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