Nutrition

Children must bring their own lunch and two snacks each day. Milk will be provided by the Center. Please note that we are a Nut-Free environment. All lunches should be in a bag or lunch box clearly labeled with the child’s name. Thermoses and plastic containers should also be labeled. We do not have the facilities to heat up or microwave foods for the children’s lunches. We also cannot refrigerate lunches; we encourage parents to use cold packs to keep lunch items cold

When families provide lunches and snacks, state licensing and accreditation requires staff to monitor children’s lunches to be sure that they meet USDA guidelines for a healthy, nutritious meal. Lunches that do not meet these guidelines are required to be supplemented by the Center.

To meet USDA guidelines for lunches, the following components are required:

Component Ages 1-2 3-5 6-12
Milk or Milk Alternate* 1 serving 1 ½ servings 2 servings
Meat or Meat Alternate* 2 servings 3 servings 4 servings
Fruit/Vegetable or 100% Fruit/Vegetable juice ¼ cup ½ cup ¾ cup
Bread or Bread Alternate* ½ slice/1 serving ½ slice/1 serving 1 slice/2 servings

*Food Alternates and Serving Sizes

Component Serving Size
Milk and Milk Alternates: milk, fluid (whole, low fat, nonfat, cultured buttermilk, flavored milk) ½ cup
Yogurt made from whole milk (plain/flavored) ½ cup
Bread Alternate:
Cornbread 1 ½” X 1 ½” square
Biscuits, rolls, muffins, bagels 1 small
Cooked pasta, noodle products, rice ¼ cup
Cooked cereal grains ¼ cup
Rice Cakes 1 cake
Crackers (saltines or similar) 4 crackers
Pretzels ½ oz (33 mini or 7 regular size)
Graham Crackers 1/3 oz or ¾ of 1 whole cracker
Meat and Meat Alternates:
Lean meat, poultry, fish ½ oz
Cheese ½ oz
Eggs ½ egg
Cooked dry beans or peas 1/8 cup
Peanut butter, soy nut butter, other seed/nut butters 1 tbsp
Peanuts, soy nuts, tree nuts or seeds ½ oz
Yogurt made from whole milk (plain/fruit flavor) ½ cup

To meet USDA guidelines for Snacks, you must provide your child with 1 out of the 4 components (the Center already provides the milk component for your child). If your child will not drink milk, you must provide 2 components.

Components Ages 1-2 3-5 6-12
Milk or Milk Alternative 1 serving 1 serving 1 serving
Fruit or Vegetable or or 100% Fruit/Vegetable juice ½ cup ½ cup ½ cup
Meat or Meat Alternate 1 serving 1 serving 1 serving
Bread; or ½ slice ½ slice 1 slice
Cereal, cold dry; or ¼ cup or 1/3 oz ½ slice/1 serving 1 slice/2 servings
Bread Alternate 1 serving 1 serving 2 servings

**Children under 2 shall be served low fat or non fat milk only with written authorization from the child’s parent and from the child’s licensed health practitioner.

(NH Child Care Licensing Program Rules)

Please do not send soda or candy in your child’s lunch. These items will be sent back in your child’s lunchbox.

Please Note: In the Toddler program, teachers put a bit of each item in your child’s lunch on a plate. Older children receive help opening items. The staff does not tell children in what order to eat food items, but tries to guide them in eating a balanced lunch. This is a practice endorsed by many pediatricians. This is another reason to be sure your child has a nutritious lunch.

 

We do not allow children to share food during lunchtime. Children have many opportunities to share food during our cooking experiences. Uneaten food will be sent home in the child’s lunchbox, so parents will know what the child has eaten.

There is no need to send silverware, plastic cutlery, or cups/sippy cups with your child’s lunch. We provide silver (not plastic ware) for your child’s use. Some children, especially the younger children, have in the past bit into plastic spoons and forks, which then presents a choking hazard. We would prefer that you not send those items.

Please note that the staff cannot offer children under four the following foods, in conjunction with NAEYC accreditation guidelines: hotdogs (whole or sliced in rounds), whole grapes, nuts, popcorn, spoonfuls of peanutbutter, raw peas or chunks of raw carrots or meat larger than can be swallowed whole.

Children who are under 3 years old must have their foods cut into ½ inch pieces or into manageable bites as individually appropriate. We strongly request that families cut foods before they are packed in children’s lunchboxes. Cutting foods for 9-12 children can be very time-consuming and is time taken away from the children.

Cooking experiences, which promote language development and socialization, are an integral part of our program. These activities will be planned by teachers and Early Childhood Education students.

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