View Full Version : I provide snacks and parents provide Lunch?

08-28-2012, 12:31 PM
Hello all!

So after a year and a half of running my day home I think I am going to be asking parents to supply lunch-while I will continue to provide milk, breakfast and snacks.

I have been throwing out so much food-and I am sick of it! There is a big enough age gap between kids that it is difficult to do lunches for everyone across the board. Further, because I will still be providing the bulk of the food and milk I will be leaving my prices where they are and rather delaying a raise in price.

I just think it has to happen...anyone else do this?

Inspired by Reggio
08-28-2012, 12:57 PM
Nope admittedly I am too anal about food quality and nutrition and control to have to deal with clients sending food that makes my stomach turn having to serve to their children day in and day out nor do I want to deal with 'why does Johnny get KD and hotdogs or a 'lunchable' or whatever and I have to have a spinach salad with eggs' ... I dealt with this in school age programs watching kids get sent chocolate milk, chips, cookies, cheese strings and other crap daily so for me it is just easier to serve picky children 'small' servings of things that I feel promote healthy choices in order to minimize waste and keep my sanity by having control over what is served in my home.

I get that children are going to have to get 'used' to eating different things when they start brown bagging it for school but until that time I prefer to serve a homemade lunch specially in the winter months I want them to have a 'hot meal' verses a brown bag cause sadly many children do not eat well at home and well poor nutrition affects them in the PROGRAM too with increased behaviour and what not so I think of food costs as an investment in me having 'happy healthy children who sleep well during the day because their tummies are full of healthy foods!

apples and bananas
08-28-2012, 01:00 PM
My concern would be that one kid would have chocolate cookies and the other one broccoli and carrots.

Crayola kiddies
08-28-2012, 01:28 PM
I don't really have a problem with kids eating or not eating. I too serve healthy homecooked lunches and the kids just eat. I rarely throw anything out and the kids often ask for seconds. Maybe try giving smaller portions to start. I always make sure there is at least two things on the plate they like ..so for instance if I am serving shepards pie and one child is not fond of it .. I know for sure he will eat the fruit and cheese, and then I encourage the child to eat a few bites of the Shepards pie.

Inspired by Reggio
08-28-2012, 01:37 PM
I firmly believe that part of the reason I have so much success with children eating well and balanced is that starting at 18 months they are part of the 'menu planning' so that each week one morning snack, lunch and pm snack is something they 'planned' with me. I use photos on my computer from all the various food groups for them to choose from (and than move them into a folder once they are chosen so next kid is force to pick something 'different' so we get variety) and we talk about making their choice balanced and so forth and than when their planned item comes up in the week they have that 'ownership' of it and will talk it up to their picky peers about 'try it i picked this its really good' type things ... positive peer pressure works way better than ME trying to get them to eat things.

08-28-2012, 01:46 PM
All good points! However-all the families that I work with are very health conscious I have no doubt they will provide nutritious lunches :)

I just feel at this point that the pros outweigh the cons-and less prep for me-you know?

08-28-2012, 01:47 PM
I have had issues with "picky eaters" in the past, and have come to the decision to have the parent pack the lunch for the child in the hopes that at least they would eat something! When doing this in the past I ALWAYS made in clear to the parent, that for many reasons (other children wanting what the child has i.e. brownies cookies and such, or the sake of eating healthy) although they have been asked to provide the lunch I still must request that the meal contain all food groups, have no packaged/processed foods and NO JUNK. (cookies,puddings,br ownies etc.) all the parents I have asked have done a pretty good job of following this request, I would also check the meal when it came in in the am, if there was "garbage" food, I would remove it without the child seeing and put in in the fridge until it was time to go home...throw it back in the lunch box and SEND IT HOME! They usually got the message and stopped sending the "junk". it still is your house, so you can set the standards of quality of meal even though you dont prepare it. Good luck ,and please let us know how it goes with ALL bringing their food, I often wonder what it would be like. :)

08-28-2012, 01:53 PM
kidlove-thanks for the suggestions! I will still be providing breakfast, milk and snacks so they won't need to provided snacks (i.e.cookies and pudding) :)

08-28-2012, 02:37 PM
You know what....if all your parents are ok with it, I say go for it! If I could I would too!

08-28-2012, 03:10 PM
I too am pretty anal about what the kids eat in my care so I would never offer this. I don't want to deal with why 1 child has this and not the other and I also don't want to deal with forgotten lunches and garbage foods. I don't let picky eaters bother me anymore...at least I try to not let it bother me. I give them smaller portions and if they eat it all, they can have more. Also...from the age of 12 months...everyone is eating pretty much the same thing. I just cut it up smaller for the littler ones.

08-28-2012, 06:54 PM
When I started my daycare I had 5 babies all on baby food, so when they started eating table food I asked the parents to keep providing it because my rate was too low. With 5 lunchpails in my fridge there was no room for my food. So I raised my rate and started feeding the children.

I also hate throwing food in the garbage and have learned to give the children very small portions and then if they want seconds they can have it. If I haven't cooked any more of what they want I give them extra fruit after the meal or an extra bread item, whatever I have available.

Do what's best for you of course.

08-29-2012, 06:13 AM
momof4-I hadn't thought of it taking of fridge space-I suppose that would be an issue for some. However, I am lucky enough to have a fridge in my daycare (our family fridge is in the kitchen in our home) as my daycare is separate from my home.


Thanks everyone for the info and advice. I think this is best for the kiddies at my daycare and further to get them eating and less waste :)

08-29-2012, 06:17 AM
oh I meant in their lunch, I have had parents bring it with the lunch, like dessert? maybe? or just part of the lunch, as if thats one of the food groups. :)

08-29-2012, 07:10 AM
kidlove- oooooh! gotcha :)

08-29-2012, 07:17 AM
had a though last night, I think its agood one too. i have been thinking about asking parents to bring lunch for their child for all those reasons as well. Last night thought up this idea of having a little slotted "lunch money container" of some sort at the front door, every day when the parents drop off, if they dont bring their child with a lunch (choose not to or forget) they can drop 2$ in the can for their childs lunch for the day. Just like paying for lunch at school, I know it probly wont pay for the entire lunch the child consumes but if you calculate it at even three kids a day expecting lunch from you, that equals an extra 120$ a month at least for lunches alone. plus the others are bringing their own. hmmm something to ponder.

08-29-2012, 05:32 PM
I wanted to mention one really big problem I had with the children all eating different food was that they would point to each other and want to eat what the other child had for lunch. It's so much simpler for me to feed them all the same food all the time. I hope it works for you, but it didn't work for me for very long.

08-30-2012, 08:16 AM
I have always encouraged the kids to share also, if one has a large baggy of cucumbers and the others say oooh cucumbers, I ask the child to give a cuke to the others and say "its nice to share!" not to mention, depending on their age, once kids start school they do bring thier own lunch, all eating dif stuff, sometimes they will share or trade things they might not like so much ,they learn to deal with surroundings. I think it shouldnt be too much of a problem, they will elarn to adapt to whatever you choose. certainly easier on the provider to have meals brought in rather than have to listen to one complain about this or that, and have some throw the food away! I think its a neat plan, let us know how it goes if you choose to follow through. :)

08-30-2012, 12:06 PM
Kidlove -thanks for the encouragement :) I have decided to go ahead with the plan-I will let you know how it goes!

08-30-2012, 03:05 PM
I wanted to mention one really big problem I had with the children all eating different food was that they would point to each other and want to eat what the other child had for lunch. It's so much simpler for me to feed them all the same food all the time. I hope it works for you, but it didn't work for me for very long.

I may be a "Hard-a$$" but I'd just say.....NO eat that or eat nothing.

Crayola kiddies
08-30-2012, 05:02 PM
Me too ... I actually don't have a problem with the kids eating here cause they know it's not an option.

08-30-2012, 05:07 PM
My main problem was that I have an apartment sized fridge so when I say there was no room for food for me I'mean NO room with 5 lunchpails. We all have very different setups and we all do what works best for us. Experimenting and trial and error is the way I learned this job. :rolleyes:

08-31-2012, 11:43 AM
Mama_mia and Crayola kiddies- I too do the whole "that's what's for lunch and that's it" and I don't have a problem with that. What I DO have a problem with is wasting food EVERYDAY. I am excited about the change and glad I was able to make that change in my daycare :) I work with great families

08-31-2012, 11:44 AM
momof4-it is so true! Doing this job makes me better at DOING this job lol

09-01-2012, 09:00 PM
What you can do about the no room issue, is to provide a small basket for each child for just the food that needs to be refrigerated. The rest stays in the lunch kit. Works well.