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Daycare Menus, Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Ideas>New Lunch Strategy
mamamanda 02:29 PM 02-02-2016
I changed up my menu style this week. For a variety of reasons, I decided to give meat free lunches a try. I've toyed with this for a while, but never felt confident to do it for more than the occasional meal. I'm posting for 2 reasons. First, I'm just excited about the challenge and I wanted to share with someone! Second, I'm hoping for some feedback in regards to how this would be viewed from a food program point of view. I'm not on the food program, but I do work hard at meeting their guidelines just to hold myself accountable and try to maintain a well balanced menu. Can you count cottage cheese or yogurt as my protein for a lunch? What about peanut butter, does it have to be combined with another protein? My parents are all on board so I guess it doesn't really matter that my meals meet the guidelines necessarily, but I just feel it gives me a more professional feel if they do.

I've been serving small amounts of a variety of foods this week and my kids are all loving it! I have a couple that typically fill up on the meat/grain and don't eat anything else, but they're actually trying all their food now. I think it helps that the colors are so diverse and appetizing. It's a fun change! Whether or not I'll stick to it long term we'll have to see, but I'm enjoying this week for sure!

Here's a few of our lunches for this week:
Rosemary Herb Quinoa, cottage cheese, steamed carrots, half ears of corn on the cob, blueberries, and watermelon

Yogurt, homemade granola, mixed veggies (corn, green beans, carrots), steamed broccoli, mandarin oranges, blueberries

Whole grain tortilla triangles with peanut butter & honey, black beans, tomatoes, scrambled eggs with cheese, brown rice, steamed broccoli, diced peaches

Anyone doing meat free lunches want to share some of their ideas?
Josiegirl 03:11 AM 02-03-2016

Sorry but I have some darn picky eaters, not quite as bad as some that I've read about on these forums though.
Yesterday we had hot dogs for lunch, a once a month treat here. But with it I served the tiniest servings of baked beans and cottage cheese(with pineapple!) and those 2 things were totally rejected. Along with the 1 red pepper strip, and 1 slice of cucumber And 2 of them ate kiwi.

What you are serving sounds delicious!!! I know I've made plain cheese quesadillas before and maybe 1 dck will eat it. It's frustrating.

Cottage cheese and yogurt are both accepted as a protein source but peanut butter has to have another protein with it because their belief is you probably wouldn't be serving the whole amount required for the 1 meal.

They love yogurt but I already serve that as a snack and part of a breakfast each week.
laundrymom 03:37 AM 02-03-2016
I do mostly meat free.
I'm on food program.
My protein options are generally
pb and cheese or yogurt.
Cheese. Yogurt. Beans. Peas. eggs.

I find it easy to incorporate into our lunch plan. We have one vegetarian family and I have adapted our menu to them. On some days we have meat and I give her a cheese stick.

I get creative.
Cheese quesadilla w surprises inside. Either artichoke or tomato or black olives. Etc.
egg dishes.
Snack lunches where I offer a typical lunch but cut everything up into bite size pieces and serve in 6 hole mini muffin tins.
They think it's "party food"
We do lots of baked grilled cheese. W varieties of breads and cheeses. I do Swiss on rye w Rosemary sprinkles.
Gouda on brioche w baby greens.
Swiss on wheat w spinach slivers.
Never velveeta. Never white bread.
I serve what my family eats.
Today we are having salmon, mandarins, baby steamed peas, and tiny pumpernickel cocktail breads w a super thin coating of cream cheese
My key to affording to feed them like this is measuring out portion size on expensive items. Serving minimum amounts to start and to not stress over it.

They eat, or are hungry.
Unregistered 10:22 AM 02-06-2016
I'm a vegetarian and serve lots of meatless dishes, but not all. I won't use hamburger but do make a roast once in a while. I do some chicken and turkey too.

I try not to use too much cheese as a protein. It can be tricky. I also do cottage cheese, grilled cheese, and I make a good lentil loaf.
I do layered cheese ravioli lasagna. I do egg salad sand. baked cod, P, B & J, I make a yummy Irish Nacho french fries (grown/produced locally), some canned organic mildly spicy beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, a dot of sour cream if they want, olives, possibly green pepper and/or tomato cut up too. Let's see....

Eggs, cheese, potato skillet meal, spaghetti bake with cottage cheese and added cheese, homemade mac 'n cheese, Spanish rice that has quinoa added-they have no idea it's there, scrambled eggs, French toast bake (needs to be a firmer bread from a co-op or at least a bread like brownberry oven's Oatmeal bread, homemade potato soup, vegetarian chili with beans, bean burritos-sour cream and cheese to dress it up.

I do roast turkey or a chicken dish once a week. If I do a roast beef the next day I do BBQ beef sand.
mamamanda 06:43 PM 02-06-2016
Thank you for the ideas! After a week of trying this, I'm hooked! My kids all ate so much better and tried more of the food on their plate than they ever have. I'm excited to put together next week's menu now.
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