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PART 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Purchased food contains limited sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other sugars. Sugar in any form is not one of the first three ingredients on a food label. Each unit of purchased food does not contain more than 20 percent of the daily recommended value (DRV) (see food label) of sodium. Purchased meats are at least 90 percent lean, according to the label. If hot dogs and deli meats are purchased, they are nitrate free. Only real cheese is purchased (no cheese products). Purchased cereal does not contain added sugar. Purchased oatmeal is not instant. Did you know? Avoid instant oatmeal for two reasons: first, it breaks down faster in the body, turning into sugar quickly. Second, most instant oatmeal includes sugars and food additives. Traditional, slow-cooked oatmeal doesn’t take that much longer to cook, and it’s cheaper too. On the other hand, instant oatmeal is still a far better choice for breakfast than pastries, doughnuts, or sugared cereals. Meal and Menu Planning Just because nutritional food is purchased doesn’t mean it will still be healthy when it reaches a child’s plate. Meal and menu planning, like food preparation (pages 12–15), is important. Without careful planning, meals may provide an imbalance of nutrients. Typical meals and snacks of children in the United States are full of processed or simple carbo- hydrates, sodium, and sugar and deficient in most vitamins and minerals. Look at the color palate of the foods on a plate—it can sometimes be very telling. If the plate is filled mostly with white or yellow foods, its nutrient value is pretty low. Be aware of the nutritional value (and color) of foods. Plan meals with this in mind so children receive most of the necessary nutrients while they are in care. 8 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL