Menu substitutions ensure that children are still eating according to the recommended
guidelines. Menu substitutions are documented in writing.
Vegetarian or other diet requests are accommodated as long as children receive adequate
nutrients. Meal and snack items are diverse throughout the week and at each meal: different colors,
different textures, different tastes, and culturally diverse.
Did you know? Serving culturally diverse foods sometimes requires a little thought. Things
like spaghetti and tacos are no longer considered diverse, because they are commonly
served in American households and have been Americanized. Serving culturally diverse
foods may mean stretching out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Start with simple things. Offer hummus or tzatziki sauce with vegetables for snack, or
prepare fresh salsa as a group. Plan to slowly introduce a variety of flavors to expand
children’s developing palates.
Children are included in menu planning.
Children are often allowed to make food choices (for example, bananas and peaches are
offered, and children are allowed to choose which fruit they prefer).
Desserts are not served.
Did you know? Gasp! No dessert, you say? It’s true. The idea of saving room for the best
part of the meal promotes poor eating habits and unhealthy preferences. It gives all
those good foods a bad rap. If you offer a healthy sweet dessert item, like fruit or a low-
fat pudding high in calcium, serve it with the meal rather than as a reward for eating the
healthy stuff. Remember, you are not saying no desserts ever, but no desserts for children
while they are attending your program. The program should focus at all times on healthy
Menus are planned to ensure children receive a variety of micronutrients and macronutri-
ents each day.
Menus are developed in consultation with a certified/licensed nutritionist or dietitian.
Ingredients and nutritional information for all meals are readily available to family