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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Snack and Meals Philosophy
Lux 11:22 AM 01-08-2019
I'm new and finding that the kids often barely eat meals. Yesterday none of them touched their Annie's organic pasta stars which was the main course. They basically had only broccoli and oranges.
I don't buy a lot (or any, really) of the stuff the four year old wants (prepared chicken nuggets and crackers, etc) she's just very picky in general. But then they all want to eat extra snacks etc .
I don't want to feed them only fruit and cheese! (The only thing they all like that I serve)
Thoughts and philosophies?
I don't want them to be hungry but I'm not sure how even to remotely please them all with their specific tastes (the two year olds like avocados, the four year old hates them, one of them likes soup, the four year old hates soup etc ....)
And how do you explain your philosophy to the parent? The four year olds mom is actually pretty "whatever" about it all I think.
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Blackcat31 11:27 AM 01-08-2019
I do not offer seconds for snack and as a matter of fact refrain from offering carbs for snack as I have several kids that would simply hold out all day until snack time.

I serve mostly veggies for snack time and as far as lunch goes, its the same thing. Everyone gets the same things on their plates but there are no seconds unless you eat everything. I also don't care if they eat or don't eat.

My role is to serve. Their role is eat. Or don't. In their tummy or in the trash...I am paid the same either way.

I also think that if kids aren't allowed to get hungry, the will more than likely never have the urge (or need) to try new things or eat healthy things.

I have fantastic eaters. All 12 of them eat every veggie I serve and none of them every complain. 10 out of 12 would eat seconds, thirds and fourths if allowed/available.

I fully and honestly believe it's because I have a laid back approach to eating. Eat or don't.
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Cat Herder 12:01 PM 01-08-2019
Meh, 4-year-olds claim to hate everything. Ignore the words and they will eat when hungry. No worries.

Meals are stress-free and I eat with them. Eat or don't, it's all the same to me. Same menu for all. I serve family style, veggies first, proteins, whole grains and fruits last. I got rid of all "white" pastas entirely. I do seconds in order as well.

I serve a protein with breakfast and lunch every day then dinner twice a week. Morning snack is usually fruit/cheese/yogurts/whole grain breads/preserves. Afternoon snacks are usually veggies/dips/salsas/whole grain crackers/pretzels/tortillas.
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Lux 01:30 PM 01-08-2019
Have either of you ever had any parents complain? I guess I worry parents will be like " why is my kid always hungry as can be when they leave daycare? "

What do you say when a child announces "I don't like ..." I usually say "just try it..."

My four year old is constantly asking what we are having and then states if she likes it or not.

I think I like this thing of just not caring though - sounds like neither of you ask them to try anything? I admit I HATE seeing the food go into the trash ugggghhh! But you're right, maybe that should be a new motto, in the trash or in your tummy. (You're right I DO get paid either way.)
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Blackcat31 01:46 PM 01-08-2019
Originally Posted by Lux:
Have either of you ever had any parents complain? I guess I worry parents will be like " why is my kid always hungry as can be when they leave daycare? "

What do you say when a child announces "I don't like ..." I usually say "just try it..."

My four year old is constantly asking what we are having and then states if she likes it or not.

I think I like this thing of just not caring though - sounds like neither of you ask them to try anything? I admit I HATE seeing the food go into the trash ugggghhh! But you're right, maybe that should be a new motto, in the trash or in your tummy. (You're right I DO get paid either way.)
It's a hard concept to grasp at first but honestly, the more you force/encourage or discuss eating the more the kids will resist. Food and meal times become a power struggle that has ZERO to do with eating and everything to do with control.

No, I don't have parents that complain because I explain to them during our initial interview how I manage meals/snacks. I explain just like in my first post.

As for kids complaining they are hungry at pick up....I always tell parents that it's dinner time (end of day) so of course they are hungry. I also let them know if the child ate or didn't eat (thus being hungry).

If parents make a fuss about their kid being hungry or starving because I didn't cook to order then they probably need a new care environment as I am not Burger King. lol!

As for not liking things... my DCK's are NOT allowed to say "I don't like x" as I don't care. If you don't like it, don't eat it but rest assured with food program requirements, there is enough choices on each child's plate that no one is starved other than by their own willingness to not eat or try something.

Kids eat when they are hungry. If we (general we. Parents and/or providers) insist they eat something, it's because we "think" they are starving and we feed or offer based on our own desire to not let a child go hungry.

In reality, it's us not the kids that create issues with eating.
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Blackcat31 01:50 PM 01-08-2019
Here are a few other threads about this issue

https://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=meal+issues

https://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=not+eating
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Lux 02:01 PM 01-08-2019
I wish I'd told my parents from the start what my food policy is . Which, I didn't really have one besides that I keep it as "whole foodsy " as possible.
Maybe I'll start to tell my four year old "you don't have to eat anything you don't want but don't say you don't like it in my house because that isn't good manners/polite."

I do think it has become a power struggle and she seems a bit food obsessed in general so I'm probably feeding into the problem now that I think about it .
Thanks for the insights .
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Mom2Two 02:14 PM 01-08-2019
Are you on the food program? If you aren't, you could adopt a version of it. It's a bit weird to learn, but there are some good ideas in it (a few weird one too though).

So I've had kids who would honestly fill up on cheese alone at meal time if I would let them. But I don't. I give a serving of foods like that, but if they are still hungry after eating all their other food, I'll give them more of the whole grain food or vegies, but not of the expensive/harder to prep food like peanuts (I use unsalted) or cheese or my sandwiches.

At snack time, I give a serving of two food groups, but they need to finish it all before I'll give more of anything. The exception is if it's a food they normally resist, I'll ask them to try at least one piece before I give more of anything.
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Leigh 05:07 PM 01-08-2019
Originally Posted by Lux:
Have either of you ever had any parents complain? I guess I worry parents will be like " why is my kid always hungry as can be when they leave daycare? "

What do you say when a child announces "I don't like ..." I usually say "just try it..."

My four year old is constantly asking what we are having and then states if she likes it or not.

I think I like this thing of just not caring though - sounds like neither of you ask them to try anything? I admit I HATE seeing the food go into the trash ugggghhh! But you're right, maybe that should be a new motto, in the trash or in your tummy. (You're right I DO get paid either way.)
When kids ask what's for lunch, the answer is always the same "we're having take it or leave it".

When a child says they don't like something: "I'll never make you eat something you don't like, but you are not allowed to say you don't like it to everyone. Please just keep it to yourself and don't eat it if you don't like it."

Most kids will eventually eat everything or most everything when you leave the choice to them.
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CityGarden 10:18 PM 01-08-2019
My group is 2-4 years old and I provide one morning snack and parents are to provide lunch from home. I provide all drinks - water or cow/almond milk (no additional milk options)

The snack I serve it equal to a full breakfast and I allow children to have as much as they want as long as they finish what is on their plate before having seconds of anything.... in example they cannot have another pancake until their fruit is finished.

To sell bringing lunches from home...
I explain to parents that young children do well with several small meals and day me providing snack in the AM helps them explore new taste and take part in community/ family style eating. Them providing lunch from home gives the child a mid-day "touch of home" made with love by parents with items the parents know the child will like. I do not openly judge what the parents serve their child during lunch as long as it is not a safety concern or too sweet. I also tell parents by me not needing to be in the kitchen preparing lunch I am able to offer more quality time focused on their child.

Food Cost really add up and I am quite bothered by food waste so I am very happy I opted to not provide lunch. My dcks are picked up before needing an afternoon snack so I do not provide that. Also I am not on the food program while I see some of the benefits I like the flexibility I have w/o them.
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Josiegirl 02:15 AM 01-09-2019
I am so wishy washy with this and such a darn pushover. I wish I could just say 'take it or leave it' but if a child truly doesn't like something or wants 2nds of something before he eats everything else, I usually let him. I look back and realize I wasn't always like this. But I then realize the kids were older that I was dealing with. It seemed a lot easier to tell 4, 5, 6 yo they could have more when they were done with their meal. Now my oldest FT dck is 2 and it's harder for me. I don't want them to get miserably grumpy from hunger. So mostly I serve healthy basic foods and if they want more oranges but leave their broccoli, then I indulge.
If they wanted just pasta or milk, something like that, then I'd say no.

As far as the dcks being polite, I wish I could teach the 5 yo K dck some manners. She tells me exactly how she's feeling about everything. One of the rudest kids I've ever had. If she doesn't like a food, she'll say yuck, blech, I hate that, etc. I try to teach them to say no thank you or I don't care for that. The other day she said something about my bad breath(I'd snuck some garlic bagel crisps) and I told her that was a rude thing to say and she shouldn't tell people things like that. Her response was 'no really, why does it smell so bad?' Wanted to sock her.
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Cat Herder 05:14 AM 01-09-2019
Monday:
4 year old: "I don't like pizza"
me: "I do. Eat or go wash up."
Kid goes to wash up.

4 year old, later: "I'm hungry."
me: "Go play toys."

Tuesday:
4 year old: "I don't like chicken."
me: "I do. Eat or go wash up."
Kid eats.

It becomes a non-issue when the kid realizes you don't care if they eat or not. If parents ask why their kid is hungry I tell them to ask their kid. Natural consequences.

Obviously, I plan my menus based on the groups' true dislikes, not just mood swings. There is no arguing a true dislike. I don't force kids to eat anything and I make substitutions on days I know a kid won't eat a specific thing. Ex: I currently offer baked sweet potato slices on cooked carrot days and sweet peas on string bean days. It is not a lot of effort and both kids eat very well with everything else.
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Pestle 05:19 AM 01-09-2019
Same as above. The food comes out. If you choose to eat only one of the items on the plate, you don't get seconds of that item! If you want something that is not on the plate, you don't get what you want! If you choose to get up and walk away in the middle of the meal, I will take that as a statement that you were done, and your plate is picked up and removed from the table.

Any other habit is a recipe for misery for you, and also for everyone who ever tries to feed that child a meal for the rest of their natural lives. There are adults who act like toddlers at mealtime. If you indulge the toddlers now, you will increase the number of terrible houseguests and restaurant patrons in the world. For the sake of some infant out there who is going to grow up to be the server at that table, don't let your kids turn into mealtime divas.

Re: being hungry at pick up: if the kids are stuffed at supper time, the parents are going to be upset, and rightfully so. I have found that my picky eaters either load up on snacktime and ignore lunch, or ignore snacktime and load up on lunch. Don't stress. They will eat when they're hungry, but don't feed them outside of meal times because then they will never be hungry enough to eat at the actual meal time.
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Meeko 07:00 AM 01-09-2019
We have only one choice. Take it or leave it. Anything else teaches a child to be picky.
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Lil_Diddle 09:50 PM 01-10-2019
Last year I had the pickiest group of eaters, I could never please all the children. I was throwing so much food out. But they eat whatís in front of them or they donít eat. I did change my policy last year when a parent asked if I would serve alternate meals. Of course my reply was no, I mean Iím not a resteraunt. However, I did decide to allow parents to send cold lunches. And no snack foods are allowed. My weekly menu is always posted. Not one parent ever took advantage of the new policy. So obviously they are not too concerned.

Thank goodness this year, these kids make happy plates all the time. Very rarely does food go to waste and Iím giving them new things to try instead of the constant same things on a cycle. Iíve also made every Monday cold lunch day. My assistant doesnít work on Mondays so itís nice not dealing with making lunch and washing dishes, and it saves me just a little extra on my budget.
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