Looking for sample daycare menus is a great way to get started when developing a child's menu of your own at home daycare or preschool. If you are like most childcare providers, you will want to supply two main meals and one to two snacks a day, depending on how long your business hours are. If you are open until the early evening, such as 6:00 pm, a second snack may be necessary at about 3:00 pm or so. Breakfast and lunch are usually served at set times of the day, to avoid having to continually feed kids on different schedules according to when they arrive.
The first meal of the day is the most important. As children grow into adults, they should be in the practice of eating a healthy breakfast in order to prevent overeating later in the day. Typical of a daycare menu for breakfast is a grain, such as hot or cold cereal, pancakes or waffles. Along with that, fruit and a protein are good supplements. Apples and bananas are well-liked by children, as are cheese sticks and hard-boiled eggs. Serve your meal with milk, for additional protein and calcium, or a low-sugar juice.
Depending on the size of your daycare operation, you may choose to have several lunch options available for the kids. However, this can pose a problem if one item runs out and only some children are left eating something they don't want. Therefore, it is usually best to have the same lunch menu items for all kids. Remember the balance between starches/grains, protein and fruits and veggies. Great lunch ideas for kids include cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese or chicken noodle soup. Fresh fruit or veggies or applesauce is a good accompaniment for most main dishes. Just be sure to watch out for nut allergies so everyone remains safe.
Serving two snacks a day doesn't have to be a difficult or expensive thing to do. Apple or celery slices with a side of peanut butter makes a good snack, as do hard-boiled eggs, crackers and chips, pudding cups and Jell-O. Serve your snacks with some juice, or make a fruit smoothie with bananas to fill the children up in the evening.
Some communities have daycare subsidy programs that will help supply food or money to pay for the food you provide the children. This is usually in exchange for following a certain menu, or staying within county-specified nutrition guidelines when making your own daycare menu. The benefit to this is that you save money, and parents can feel secure knowing you are serving their children healthy meals.
Daycare contracts outline the rules and policies of your daycare center. Not only do they explain what is expected on your part, but they also lay down some ground rules for the parents.
Interested in grants for daycare centers? While there are few options specifically geared toward daycare centers, you can still find grants as a new small business owner.