When running a daycare center, it is the responsibility of the daycare to provide snacks during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. The center must follow the National Network for Childcare which indicates that the total caloric intake for a child should be 1000-1200 calories. The snacks should cover at least 20-25% of the total caloric intake.
Since the snack covers around one forth of the total caloric intakes of the child, it is important that the center should provide snacks that are nutritious and healthy. It is advised that the snacks shall be made from the important food groups such as vegetables, grains, fruits and other vitamins and minerals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the toddler’s food pyramid suggests that if a 2-year old child has around 60 minutes of exercise a day, then he should consume about 1 cup of vegetable, one cup of fruit, 3 ounces of grains and 2 cups of milk every day.
The author of the forthcoming book Early Sprouts and the creator of the Early Sprouts curriculum, Dr. Karrie Kalich, who is also an assistant professor of health science at Keene State College created a one week sample of healthy snack menu ideas for young preschoolers.
For mid-morning snacks, there are different snacks that are tasty but still provide the needed nutrients of the kids. Whole wheat pita bread and sunflower seed butter is very healthy because of the grains that it contains. Bite size shredded oat squares together with pear, plum, apple and other fruits will provide the daily fruit requirements. It is also sweet and delicious. Oranges slices and Ak Mak crackers as well as Carrots with Wheat Chex Cereal and Kashi Autumn Harvest Cereal with strawberry and banana smoothie are other healthy snack ideas for kids. The kids will surely love these tasty treats.
There are also mid-afternoon snacks for preschoolers that are yummy and healthy. Sliced Cabot 50% reduced cheddar cheese together with fruits or Kashir Cinnamon Harvest Cereal topped with apple or pear slices is a perfect combination of fruits and dairy products with grains. You can also give the kids some pasta made from whole wheat penne or kamut spirals with olive oils, froze peas and parmesan. You can even use some leftover fruits and make smoothies with yogurt and milk. Whole wheat grain crackers are also good source of grains.
The suggested foods mentioned are usually for children 2-4 years old. If you plan to give this to children under the age of two, you must use full-fat dairy. It is also recommended to give the children fresh water during meals.
Childcare centers shall also practice healthy eating to become nutrition mentors for the kids. It is important that kids will see that even the teachers and staff are eating healthy food. It will also be helpful if the staff will provide activities that will encourage children to eat healthy. The kids should also be informed about the nutrition that they need and the positive effects that they will get when they eat healthy. The United States Department of Agriculture and the National Food Service Management Institute offers help for the childcare providers by providing them with different tools and resources for a healthy diet plan for the kids.
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