Tracking daycare meals not only helps you to meet regulatory and licensing requirements, but also helps guide future meal planning and increase transparency with parents.
Tracking daycare meals provides you with a host of benefits as the childcare provider, as well as the children and their parents. Not only does accurate tracking help you stay organized when it comes to mealtimes, it can also put parents at ease knowing exactly what their child is eating over the course of the day.
Here are just a few of the most important reasons you should consider improving the tracking of your daycare’s meals:
Guide Future Meal Planning
Having accurate data about the likes and dislikes about the children in your care, as well as what types of foods regularly get eaten up quickly and those that get left on plates will help you develop a nutritious and varied daycare meal plan that works for everyone. You’ll likely notice trends forming as to what foods your children will eat happily, and which ones often go untouched. This can help you form your future meal and snack schedules to find creative ideas that work for everyone and create less hassle at mealtimes.
Meet Government Regulations
Since your daycare meals are required to meet governmental requirements, it is essential that you have complete records of all meals served. By carefully tracking your meal schedules as well as what each individual child has consumed, you will always have the data you need at your fingertips should you ever have to show proof of your healthy meal planning.
Monitor Food and Behavior
With a clear record of what each child has eaten, you can reference this information any time you suspect a child is feeling unwell or may be having an allergic reaction. Perhaps each time that a child eats a particular food at lunchtime, they show signs of discomfort or illness throughout the afternoon. Having tracked your daycare meals, you’ll be able to note correlations between certain foods and behaviors easily and report your findings back to parents.
Increase Parent Confidence
When you track daycare meals, you can help parents feel more confident in knowing their child is eating healthy when they’re away from home. For parents, it is comforting to know that they can find out exactly what type of food and how much of each their child has eaten over the course of the day, and adjust the meals they will serve at home accordingly. Your meal tracking can also help parents discover new food items that their child enjoys which are not often served at home.
Technology, including a child care apps and software like HiMama, can make tracking meals much easier. You can not only upload and save your weekly meal plans, you can also carefully detail what children are actually consuming. With a tablet, your staff can quickly record what each child ate during snacks and mealtimes, saving you time and hassle later on. This information can then become part of your daily reports to parents, and is accessible at any time, anywhere for you and your caregivers to review.