When sending our little ones off to daycare, one of our top concerns as parents is whether or not they are receiving nutritious meals – and if they are actually eating those meals! When first considering your child care options, it’s important that you look for a child care provider who makes weekly meal plans available to you.
Part of your evaluation process should be the quality and variety of foods that are served, and if they meet toddler nutrition standards. However, this is only half of the challenge with toddler eating. Even when your chosen child care center serves excellent meals, it may not make any difference if your child simply won’t eat what is served to them.
These tips can help you determine whether or not your child is eating enough while at daycare, and how you can work to improve their eating habits:
- If your child complains of hunger or disliking meals, take the time to discuss any mealtime preferences with your child care provider. By understanding what exactly was served and what foods your child refused to eat, you may be able to narrow the scope of his or her issue. From there, you can determine what nutrients your child may be lacking and make adjustments. Are they always avoiding veggies? Do they dislike dairy products?
- Work on healthy eating behavior at home, especially with the food groups they tend to avoid. If your child won’t eat his or her veggies at home, it’s unlikely that they will start at daycare. Encourage good eating habits and the idea of trying new things on a regular basis.
- If your child just won’t seem to eat or be adventurous with food while at home or while in child care, try not to stress too much. Use at-home meals as opportunities to eat rich, nutritious meals and explore new kinds of healthy foods, even if they are pickier with the child care center’s menu.
- Some centers may allow you to send the nutritious foods that your child does enjoy with them to their center. Work with your child care provider to ensure that your toddler is eating the foods you provide if they don’t want to eat the planned menu.
Why not ask your child care provider to help you keep on top of your toddler’s nutrition and eating habits? A child care center who uses our HiMama Childcare App will allow you to see exactly what your child is eating and when. Our comprehensive daily reports make it easy for caregivers to make note of which meals were served on any given day, what types of foods were served, and how much of each food was eaten by each child. Additionally, more detailed notes and observations can be recorded to let parents know of any concerns or new food likes and dislikes.
For more information on how HiMama can help you and your child care provider stay on top of meal planning, get in touch with us today!