"Nutritionally Speaking"

Jeffery's daycare menu takes into account both USDA guidelines for CACFP meal reimbursement and "kid-friendly" foods. The menu meets or exceeds the standards for Vitamin C and Vitamin A, providing a dark green or bright orange vegetable three times a week. Fruits are also provided for a Vitamin A source. Vitamin C foods are offered daily.

The menus are low in fat. The menu encourages children ages 3 to 5 to be served no more than 1% milk and children less than 2 years receive whole milk. Deep-fried foods are not offered on the menu; however, oven-fried items appear no more than three times on a menu cycle.

The menus incorporate high complex carbohydrate and fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables are served when possible and whole grains are used. The menus are low in sugar and the breakfast cereals follow the cereal guidelines offered by the USDA WIC Program (Women, Infants and Children). The menus are low in sodium. Seasonings other than salt are used to enhance the flavor of the foods.

The menu addresses perceived deficiencies in children's diets. At snack time it offers milk, yogurt and cheese to supplement low dairy intake and provides a snack of vegetables weekly in addition to supplementing with fruits and whole grains.

The menus have been set up to offer nutritional experiences for the children. Children are provided with either a "Make-Your-Own" meal or a specific ethnic meal weekly. The menu is designed to meet the Head Start Performance Standards 1304.23 (b)(1)(ii), 1304.23 (b)(1)(iii), 1304.25 (b)(1)(v), 1304.23 (b)(1)(vi), 1304.23 (c), 1304.23 (c)(1), and 1304.23 (c)(7).

Jeffery's is aware many children have food allergies. To ease caregivers need for this information, there is a menu available that lists the following allergens: dairy/milk, egg, tomato, gluten/wheat, soy, corn and fish. No peanuts, peanut products or tree nuts are used in the preparation of the foods on the menu. We do realize that manufacturers may change their formulation and we try to stay abreast of any of these changes.

The goal of these menus is to expand the food experiences of children. New foods, different cultures and familiar foods are offered. Take a moment to read the menus before the month begins. Use the experiences of the menu to expand your lesson plan. Talk about the culture of the food, where the food comes from and find out who else eats this type of food. Great stories to incorporate into lesson plans include "Everybody Cooks Rice" by Nora Dooley.