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Old 07-27-2014, 06:52 PM
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mamamanda mamamanda is offline
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Default Charging for meals

So does anyone who is not on the food program provide meals for your dck? If so, how do you charge for that? Do you have a meal fee or is that included in your cost of care? I've typically charged $5 per week for food, but this is nowhere near enough to cover my food costs, especially since I provide 3 meals a day and all milk. I am trying to incorporate more real foods and not serve many processed foods like chicken nuggets or hamburger helper, etc. Making meals from scratch costs so much more though. I'm preparing to make some big changes to my policies and I want to adjust the cost of food, but I'm not sure what is really fair to parents. I was thinking of basing my food fee on that of the local elementary schools here, but I realize that adds up quickly. For 3 meals, that would be about $5 per child per day & $25 a week seems a bit high to me when you're already paying for child care. I've also thought of allowing parents to pack a lunch for their child as an alternative to paying the food fee but that seems like it might turn into a lot of extra work for me. How do you handle this? Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:05 PM
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I get paid abou $2 per day per child on the food program. I am Tier II. I serve organic when possible and all non-processed. Our family of 3 spends about $150 a week on food, including all paper items, trash bags, makeup, etc. With dck's we spend about $200 a week, but we plan carefully. So the food program covers our extra cost. And again, it takes a lot of planning.

So, the short answer is ... I can do it for $2 per kid per day. I did not charge extra before I was on the food program.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamamanda View Post
So does anyone who is not on the food program provide meals for your dck? If so, how do you charge for that? Do you have a meal fee or is that included in your cost of care? I've typically charged $5 per week for food, but this is nowhere near enough to cover my food costs, especially since I provide 3 meals a day and all milk. I am trying to incorporate more real foods and not serve many processed foods like chicken nuggets or hamburger helper, etc. Making meals from scratch costs so much more though. I'm preparing to make some big changes to my policies and I want to adjust the cost of food, but I'm not sure what is really fair to parents. I was thinking of basing my food fee on that of the local elementary schools here, but I realize that adds up quickly. For 3 meals, that would be about $5 per child per day & $25 a week seems a bit high to me when you're already paying for child care. I've also thought of allowing parents to pack a lunch for their child as an alternative to paying the food fee but that seems like it might turn into a lot of extra work for me. How do you handle this? Thanks in advance!
Why not just join the food program?
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:07 PM
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Why not just join the food program?
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:59 PM
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I am not on the food program but do serve breakfast lunch snacks and milk. I do not allow any outside food. At first I did this because I didn't want one child to come I. For breakfast with a pop tart and chocolate milk while another child is eating fruit salad and drinking a smoothie. I would constantly lose the battle for healthy eating with both the daycare kids and my own plus I would have a bunch of sugar high nuts running around my house. So I charged on the high end of rates in my area and offered healthy meals and snacks, all home made and lots of organic. I work hard to have the kids enjoy the healthy foods they eat. This is my niche and I can charge a little more for it but by my rules.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:25 PM
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Why not just join the food program?
At this point I am operating as a legally unlicensed provider which makes me ineligible to join the food program. I posted another thread earlier today about the pros and cons of becoming licensed and I'm just not sure it would be worth the extra paperwork and stress of dealing with inspections to become licensed since I already charge rates comparable to other providers in my area. I wouldn't want to add more children than I'm already allowed without being licensed so it seems like a lot more work without much payoff except for possibly the food program. I have a background in education, offer a preschool curriculum, and strive to maintain a high quality of care for the children. I'm just not sure becoming "licensed" would be worth all of the trainings, etc. if the only perk is the food program. I have contacted my local licensing rep several times to be sure that I am operating legally.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by hope View Post
I am not on the food program but do serve breakfast lunch snacks and milk. I do not allow any outside food. At first I did this because I didn't want one child to come I. For breakfast with a pop tart and chocolate milk while another child is eating fruit salad and drinking a smoothie. I would constantly lose the battle for healthy eating with both the daycare kids and my own plus I would have a bunch of sugar high nuts running around my house. So I charged on the high end of rates in my area and offered healthy meals and snacks, all home made and lots of organic.I work hard to have the kids enjoy the healthy foods they eat.This is my niche and I can charge a little more for it but by my rules.
I love this! Do you have any tips on helping kids who aren't used to that style of eating transition? I have the hardest time with this with one of my families. The kids complain a lot and ask for junk food constantly. I'm trying to just be consistent and serve the healthy food and let them decide whether or not to eat it, but sometimes its so discouraging. I have found a few recipes they enjoy such as whole wheat muffins that are sweetened with honey instead of sugar as part of a breakfast or snack, but it is few and far between when they truly like the healthy food.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:36 PM
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The best thing you can do is have the kids help you prepare meals (have one person in charge of salad and another in charge of smoothies), set the table (sometimes as a picnic or tea party), and offer a few choices so they feel like they have some say even though those options are all healthy. If I have a picky Eater I hide some veggies by pureeing them and adding to turkey meatballs, to turkey hamburgers, muffins and to sauces that I can put on pasta. As their taste buds become accustomed to flavor I then start to add the veggies to the food as is.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:00 PM
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The best thing you can do is have the kids help you prepare meals (have one person in charge of salad and another in charge of smoothies), set the table (sometimes as a picnic or tea party), and offer a few choices so they feel like they have some say even though those options are all healthy. If I have a picky Eater I hide some veggies by pureeing them and adding to turkey meatballs, to turkey hamburgers, muffins and to sauces that I can put on pasta. As their taste buds become accustomed to flavor I then start to add the veggies to the food as is.
These are great ideas. Thank you!
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