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  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home...
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    Menu ideas and opions please

    Hello beautiful ladies of the daycare world (Im in a much better mood now)

    First THANK YOU to all your kind words threw my FIRST (and not last) hard ship in my career xxoxoxo to all of you because if not for you I think Id still be in my room crying (LOL) lots of love!!!!!

    So I don not have a meal plan but am thinking I might like to start one not for parents but for me (to be more organized and maybe save a buck on the grocery bill)

    WHY have a meal plan?
    How do you think it helps and/or doesn't help?
    For those who don,t have meal plans why not?
    Food ideas for meal plans?
    Do you feel it saves you money?

    THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!!!

  2. #2
    Shy
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    No menu for me

    Hello, glad to see your smiling again

    I do not have a meal plan per say.. Each meal has 1 of each food groups on the plate. Breakfast & lunch. I make breakfast & lunch before everyone arrives so that it's quick & easy to put together. I was finding it too difficult to stick with a menu because I like to buy things on sale. One week it's oranges & strawberries, next week it's bananas & apples etc.

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  4. #3
    Euphoric !
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    No menu plan as such here either but I do find that after awhile you sort of get in a groove or a rut depending on your point of view in the sense of serving the same things over and over. A lot of meals is based on what we have as a family but I don't sweat it in the sense that if we end up eating it all I have several go to meals for daycare I can use on those days we ordered out for pizza or daughter stayed for supper so most of the lasagna is gone.

    I do lunch and two snacks so mostly it is the lunch I need to plan for and the snacks are whatever fruit/cheese/crackers/baked goods are available. I plan lunch to have a protein, vegetable, starch and milk to drink. Fruit and dessert (cookie) of some sort is available IF they finish their first plate of food. For vegetables I usually use the frozen mixed veggies (I like the selection brand from LOEB because it has yellow beans in it instead of lima beans). That way kids can pick out the parts they like and leave the parts they don't. That way I don't have to remember who likes what.

    Most of my meals are fingerfood style so I don't have to cook separate meals or do a lot of washing up of kids after eating. That also makes it easier to create a meal from whatever is in the fridge.

    Instead of an actual meal plan I starting using more of a recipe file box and cards idea. List the meat and what you need ex: hamburg+box of hamburg helper, hamburg+tomato sauce+spagetti, etc. Then to plan your meals and grocery list pull out the card you want to use that week and buy accordingly. It is a good way to rotate meals because once a card is used you put it to the back of the catagory.

    Batch cooking is another good method in the sense that if there are no leftovers you can grab something from the freezer. Set out in the fridge to thaw overnight as you clean up from supper and realize oops not enough left for daycare. Things like meatloaf, sliced cooked chicken. Having a box of chicken nuggets or fish sticks for those oops gotta fill in days makes them a treat for the kids too and not a weekly habit.

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  6. #4
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    THANK YOU PLAYFELT very helpful

  7. #5
    Starting to feel at home...
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    Daycaremiss I dont usually give a veggie in the morning but like the idea what types of veggies do you serve with breakfast?

  8. #6
    Expansive... Artsand crafts's Avatar
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    I do a weekly menu... I am not that organize and I think that helps me a lot. If I do not do it, I feel I have to invest more time in thinking what am I doing for Today or if I want to eat something I crave for I sometimes do not have all ingredients in my pantry. Trips to the super market are faster since I just focus on my list and that is it. As playfelt said I focus more in the lunch part. Snacks are easier. What my kids eat for lunch my family eats for dinner next day.

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  10. #7
    Outgoing
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    I plan my meals for 2 weeks at a time. I don't find it takes that much time to plan. I have lots of meals that I just rotate. I try to find easy casserole or slow cooker recipes. I find it helps as I am on a budget and I don't have lots of time for prep so in one trip to the store I can get practically everything I need. I also plan my own family dinner so I make it in double batches. I also use frozen mixed veggies, I often just add a bunch in my pasta or rice. No need to be peeling and cutting.

    I also do batch cooking over the weekend often with a friend and freeze it. Lots of different meat pies, spaghetti sauce, lasagnas and whatever recipes I want to try.

  11. #8
    Euphoric !
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    I do weekly menus based on the meals I will serve for dinner for my family (next day's leftovers is for daycare). I find it helps me keep on track and takes the wondering what to cook for dinner out of my days. I also find that the parents LOVE having a menu provided to them every week so they know what the kids are eating. I stopped plannign snacks out and now just have a list of snack possibilities for the week as I found that I like to go with the flow and kids' requests sometimes for snacks. And if ever I don't have enough for leftovers, I do tell parents I have made a switch and it is no big deal.

  12. #9
    Euphoric !
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    I'm happy you are happy! I started out with a menu plan and realized after a few months that none of the parents were looking at it and most had lost it. I thought they would all post it on their fridge so they knew what their child had eaten that day. So I realized I was causing a lot of work for myself to stick to the menu for no reason. Sometimes when we are outside and get in late I want to be able to make a quick lunch. Sometimes there are great sales on meat and produce and I want the freedom to be able to make something different.

    So now I promise that I serve all nutritious food with 2 items for breakfast and 2 items for afternoon snack and definitely a protein, veggies and fruit for lunch. I promise a good mix of all the food groups, lots of fruit, yogurt, a variety of grain/rice products and a different protein for lunch daily like chicken, pork, beef or fish.

    Bu when it's a beautiful sunny day and I have a meal plan ready but we come back late I want to be able to slap some grilled cheese sandwiches or ham together quickly with raw veggie sticks and those are my go-to quickie lunches once in a while.
    Frederick Douglass
    It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

  13. #10
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    I don't use a meal plan, but I do provide parents with a list of our usual meals and snacks that we rotate through. I tried a monthly meal plan when I first started and didn't like it....I like to be able to buy what is on sale and also will a lot of times double up on my family's supper so I can serve the leftovers for daycare lunches. The parents I work with don't want or expect a meal plan, though I know there are parents that do.
    If it is a good week I will plan ahead my lunches for the next week so I can get the groceries on the weekend. Snacks are usually just whatever is on hand/on sale.
    The biggest problem I have is trying to get supper ready for my family before I'm done work, as I often have daycare kids until 6:00pm and my own kids have activities in the evenings. Hate that evening rush!!

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