Food (Again! Sorry!)
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  1. #1
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    Default Food (Again! Sorry!)

    I'm fed up of providing food that doesn't get eaten and that the kids pick at or moan about an would like to re-think what i do in regards to food. I know that parents really like the fact that i provide hot meals though, can you tell me what you all do - which meals do you provide, is there any choice, do you pre-send out menus, is it included in your fee, additional etc etc I'm after some inspiration!

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    I provided meals, like you, because I thought it was just easier than dealing with warm ups from home and different lunches for everyone.
    I only provided breakfast, morning snack, ( fruit only) lunch and afternoon snack.
    I initially wanted lunch to be a ‘lunch’ , light meal, but it turned into meals as my group of LO’s were not keen on sandwiches or similar...it was easier in the end to do a meal.
    We ( DH was the main meal planner) talked extensively with parents about typical meals and food LO’s liked.
    We tended to lead with one balanced meal, adapting to individual preferences. So, main meal always had something that they all liked and then a new taste, introduced slowly, constantly repeated...they soon liked it and then it was added to list of likes. But we knew there would be some left, but if a little bit of new taste was tried I was happy.....slow and small....it seemed to work.
    I used an online software that meant the parents could access menus...which we did every two weeks, we grow a lot ourselves and make from scratch so it changed depending on what we were cooking for ourselves, and ready from fruit and veg patch. My parents liked this so they could balance their own home or granny served meals too...so no one had fish for lunch and tea.
    As an example we would make a pasta dish...with a sauce, home made with meat/ fish and veg. We served it with home made ‘nearly garlic’ bread because one of our LO’s didn’t eat pasta so she had bread and sauce. Another only liked dry pasta, no sauce, so she had plain pasta with a few pieces of veg and a little butter to make it not dry...we put a teaspoon of sauce on hers and gradually increased until she liked the sauce with veg. Another liked everything, but limited to one slice of bread because carbs were balanced. Sometimes I knew the LO would just eat the chicken, no veg from a meal...but then I would balance it with a fruit based pudding.
    So one basic foundation, with alternative for known likes and dislikes, with the expectation that ‘soon’ those that didn’t like something would eventually...it worked for us.
    We did use persuasion to and bribery, eat all your veg and you will be able to have ...
    In reality I always served a pudding to everyone as the meal was balanced over two courses for some, but if a child hadn’t eaten anything ..remembering there was always something I knew they liked on their plate ...I would say “ just eat....then you will be able to have...” it always worked and the suggestion was gobbled quick for their fav pud.
    We didn’t pander, but took in to account their preferences and offered new tastes to increase their diet.
    When you get a child who wolfs down everything it’s wonderful!
    I balanced afternoon snack to lunch...so if I had someone who didn’t eat lunch then the snack would change to something I knew they would like so I knew they had eaten a balanced diet with me...of sorts.

    It is tricky, but the expectation is that they eat, our meals always had a nice atmosphere with background music, we chatted about what we liked and didn’t..now but that one day we would like it, trying new food was a positive, praiseworthy behaviour, but preference was acknowledged. Involving the LO’s in prep helped too ..if they had helped to make it often encouraged eating...and it was a nice activity.
    Sometimes I would spend more time planning food for the fortnight than activities...but it was worth the prep when we got it right. I used to involve them in planning too...so then discussion around ‘x’s’ idea is today’s lunch would happen, which helped them to look forward to eating too. LO’s always set table in prep which also helped to create enthusiasm for lunch.
    I priced each meal for tax purposes , my daily cost included all food, so it was important to keep costs within a budget, which we did by making everything from scratch and growing our own fruit and veg. Often our previous evening home meal was prep for leftovers for Lo’s The next day...so I planned our meals and baking alongside LO’s.
    Last edited by FloraDora; 05-10-2017 at 08:45 PM.

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  4. #3
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    I've been very lucky on the not fussy eaters problem. I offer lunches which parents pay for and they have the option of sending a meal to be re heated or a sandwich lunch. I don't do menus and cook what I fancy, I often batch cook and freeze or make extras when I make family meals ready for tomorrow. I don't offer choices but take into account what children really don't like and we often sit together and decide what we would like to lunch, shop for the ingredients and prepare it together or sometimes children ask for x y or z for tomorrow. I don't do afters. I offer pudding type snacks later in the afternoon, so yogurt, fruit, custard, jelly or whatever to take into account a balanced offering of food over the day. I tend to do breakfast or snack in the morning or I find lunch is not eaten. I don't and never have offered after school meals, too rushed and definetly too picky, all children go home for tea with their families.

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    I provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and am/pm snacks. Home made as far as possible.

    I would email the menu to parents.

    I have had absolutely amazing eaters in the main, but one family I had were really picky (usually had at least one member of their family with me over the years). DD was somewhere in between, but leaning towards good.

    The only way I could get veg into the one family was by hiding it in soups, pasta sauces, pizza sauces, home made fritters, home made veg sausages etc. Not sure how much of your five a day you can truly get by eating it in this way, but it's better than nothing. I do prefer to see them munching on a whole piece of broccoli - so I would continue to serve it as a side, and praise the others for eating it, but they were never, ever tempted. I honestly used to serve the tiniest portions of veg to that family, so the waste was really minimal.

    Start with what your children definitely like and build it up from there, using different combinations of food that goes down well, with the occasional new food thrown in. So, my tricky family loved carbs. I worked three days with them and so needed 6 different carbs. I would have something like
    Mon - bread and rice day
    Tue- Pasta and potato day
    Wed - Couscous and gnocchi day. I might also have had noodles or orzo.

    Potato day might have been roast, boiled, mash, jacket or even chips. Bread could be wraps, bagels, toasties etc. I would add protein and hidden veg plus the small portion of whole veg as a side.

    For breakfast they were happy with porridge sweetened with pureed fruit or raisins. Raisins were the only 'whole' fruit they would eat, but I did used to cut up other dried fruit to the size of raisins and not mention it (mentioned it once and they refused to try it, so kept quiet in future and they ate it). That was the only way I could get fruit into them, along with home made smoothies. They did all love 'gruffalo crumble' made with whatever seasonal fruit we had, but are there any vitamins left in the fruit by then? I'm not so sure!

    So - small portions to minimise the waste - they can always come back for more if they like it - freeze the rest for you and your family. Don't worry about repeating favourites. Star with what you know and build it up from there.

    Like Floradora said, I've had variations too in the same meal - kids who prefer to have sauce served separately - as a dip for the rest of the food - and over the years they have grown to like it.

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    I have always done a hot lunch since I registered 12 years ago but am finding that children are becoming fussier and it's really hard to find a meal that everyone will eat.

    Mondays I have a pescatarian child (who doesn't like cheese), a 2 year old who is very fussy and a 2 year old who eats most things
    Tuesdays I have the pescatarian child, the 2 year old fussy eater and a 3 year old fussy eater (both will chew meat into a lump and not swallow)
    Wednesdays I have the pescatarian child, 3 year old fussy eater and 2 year old who eats most things
    Thursday - day off hurrah
    Fridays - the 2 year old fussy eater, an 18 month old who likes roast dinners and my 13 month old grandson who eats everything

    I tend to do quite traditional meals and adapt to make a vegetarian version using soya mince or quorn for the pescatarian child
    I offer roast chicken dinners (vege sausage and vegetable gravy option),
    beef or soya mince, veg & bean bolognese and serve with potato, pasta or rice,
    tuna pasta bake,
    beef & veg stew (done in pressure cooker so beef is tender)
    mild chicken (or butternut) curry
    Fish fingers, peas and home made chips
    lamb or butternut squash tagine with cous cous
    Fish pie with mash

    I find it's only really the fish finger meal or the tuna pasta bake that I can guarantee that everyone will eat without a fuss. I'm not really too worried about the waste as I have 2 dogs and chickens so food doesn't go in the bin, I just feel it's part of my duty to ensure that children will eat a varied diet so they aren't a pain when they invited home to tea with friends when they get to school.

    I'm seriously thinking about only continuing to do meals until the Spring and then asking the parents to provide a lunch box - I could do a cold lunch option but the pescatarian child didn't seem to like anything other than marmite sandwiches and pom bear crisps when we went on picnics in the summer - I bought quorn cocktail sausages and savoury eggs, cheese & onion rolls, tried hummus & veg, made mini salmon quiches with minimal cheese - would be interesting to see what her mum sends in the lunch box!

    I do a lot of batch cooking specially for the children and freeze into portions and also I cook extra so that when myself and my husband have tea, I dish up a meal for the children for the next day - so often our meals are decided on what the children may or may not eat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hectors house View Post
    I have always done a hot lunch since I registered 12 years ago but am finding that children are becoming fussier and it's really hard to find a meal that everyone will eat.

    Mondays I have a pescatarian child (who doesn't like cheese), a 2 year old who is very fussy and a 2 year old who eats most things
    Tuesdays I have the pescatarian child, the 2 year old fussy eater and a 3 year old fussy eater (both will chew meat into a lump and not swallow)
    Wednesdays I have the pescatarian child, 3 year old fussy eater and 2 year old who eats most things
    Thursday - day off hurrah
    Fridays - the 2 year old fussy eater, an 18 month old who likes roast dinners and my 13 month old grandson who eats everything

    I tend to do quite traditional meals and adapt to make a vegetarian version using soya mince or quorn for the pescatarian child
    I offer roast chicken dinners (vege sausage and vegetable gravy option),
    beef or soya mince, veg & bean bolognese and serve with potato, pasta or rice,
    tuna pasta bake,
    beef & veg stew (done in pressure cooker so beef is tender)
    mild chicken (or butternut) curry
    Fish fingers, peas and home made chips
    lamb or butternut squash tagine with cous cous
    Fish pie with mash

    I find it's only really the fish finger meal or the tuna pasta bake that I can guarantee that everyone will eat without a fuss. I'm not really too worried about the waste as I have 2 dogs and chickens so food doesn't go in the bin, I just feel it's part of my duty to ensure that children will eat a varied diet so they aren't a pain when they invited home to tea with friends when they get to school.

    I'm seriously thinking about only continuing to do meals until the Spring and then asking the parents to provide a lunch box - I could do a cold lunch option but the pescatarian child didn't seem to like anything other than marmite sandwiches and pom bear crisps when we went on picnics in the summer - I bought quorn cocktail sausages and savoury eggs, cheese & onion rolls, tried hummus & veg, made mini salmon quiches with minimal cheese - would be interesting to see what her mum sends in the lunch box!

    I do a lot of batch cooking specially for the children and freeze into portions and also I cook extra so that when myself and my husband have tea, I dish up a meal for the children for the next day - so often our meals are decided on what the children may or may not eat!
    Lol ... our weekday meals are also generally planned on what minded children will eat!

    I usually do a sandwich/ soup/ something on toast/ omelette etc for lunch and a main meal for tea, but I was thinking of having 'leftovers' for lunch (from our meal the night before ... not actual leftovers but portions kept and reheated) and then sandwiches etc for tea ... but actually, when I started to think about it, the sandwiches etc would be more 'faffy' and time consuming to do than cooking a big pot of pasta and sauce!
    I've got a couple of very fussy schoolies at the moment, who seem to eat alot of plain pasta! But I know they go home and have something else if they want it, so I'm not stressing about it!

    I include meals in my fees as that way everyone has the same and I do find it easier. I don't offer alternative meals (unless I'm doing a veggie version) but no one has to have everything on their plate. I let them serve themselves veggies and the deal is ... if you put it on your plate, you need to try it and eat it !!!

    I do put a weekly menu on my notice board by front door but with the proviso that it is subject to change!
    Last edited by loocyloo; 09-10-2017 at 12:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loocyloo View Post
    Lol ... our weekday meals are also generally planned on what minded children will eat!

    I usually do a sandwich/ soup/ something on toast/ omelette etc for lunch and a main meal for tea, but I was thinking of having 'leftovers' for lunch (from our meal the night before ... not actual leftovers but portions kept and reheated) and then sandwiches etc for tea ... but actually, when I started to think about it, the sandwiches etc would be more 'faffy' and time consuming to do than cooking a big pot of pasta and sauce!
    I've got a couple of very fussy schoolies at the moment, who seem to eat alot of plain pasta! But I know they go home and have something else if they want it, so I'm not stressing about it!

    I include meals in my fees as that way everyone has the same and I do find it easier. I don't offer alternative meals (unless I'm doing a veggie version) but no one has to have everything on their plate. I let them serve themselves veggies and the deal is ... if you put it on your plate, you need to try it and eat it !!!

    I do put a weekly menu on my notice board by front door but with the proviso that it is subject to change!
    I think I'm going to ask the parents to write a list of the last week's worth of hot meals the children ate at home and try to cross reference to see what meals (if any) all children will eat as the list of what I serve and children eat is getting smaller and smaller over the years. I did stop doing tea as I only had one child (one of the fussy 2 year olds) and whenever dad picked up he would ask if she had eaten much for tea and then say she could have more tea at home with her siblings, which I felt was giving mixed messages. I know I could give them pasta every day and wouldn't have any problems but I worry then that they would then be having pasta at home on the days they don't come to me, as everyone only comes 1, 2 or 3 days max a week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hectors house View Post

    I think I'm going to ask the parents to write a list of the last week's worth of hot meals the children ate at home and try to cross reference to see what meals (if any) all children will eat as the list of what I serve and children eat is getting smaller and smaller over the years. I did stop doing tea as I only had one child (one of the fussy 2 year olds) and whenever dad picked up he would ask if she had eaten much for tea and then say she could have more tea at home with her siblings, which I felt was giving mixed messages. I know I could give them pasta every day and wouldn't have any problems but I worry then that they would then be having pasta at home on the days they don't come to me, as everyone only comes 1, 2 or 3 days max a week.
    That's an idea ... but from conversation with schoolies ( and reaction to some meals ie casserole! ) know they mainly have Fish fingers/nugget/sausage with potato/chip type things or pasta!

    Although ... DD is currently driving me demented with what she will or won't eat ( and she used to eat everything! ) but she will eat pretty much anything if served in a Yorkshire pudding ... maybe I'll go down that route! She even likes them for pudding with syrup. Yesterday she put a couple strawberries in a yorkie, added a sprinkle of crumble topping, baked it and ate it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by loocyloo View Post
    That's an idea ... but from conversation with schoolies ( and reaction to some meals ie casserole! ) know they mainly have Fish fingers/nugget/sausage with potato/chip type things or pasta!

    Although ... DD is currently driving me demented with what she will or won't eat ( and she used to eat everything! ) but she will eat pretty much anything if served in a Yorkshire pudding ... maybe I'll go down that route! She even likes them for pudding with syrup. Yesterday she put a couple strawberries in a yorkie, added a sprinkle of crumble topping, baked it and ate it!
    I have sometimes wondered if they would eat their cooked meal if I covered it with custard or fromage frais and on occasions when one child has a mouthful of chewed meat that they won't swallow or let me take out, I have given them a spoonful of pudding and they have swallowed the lot ! Disgusting I know but I couldn't put child down for a nap with food in her mouth.

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    I don't see anything wrong with mixing sweet with savoury cheese and grapes or sweet pickle, cheese and fruit cake. I looked after a child who would only eat strawberry yog so worked with mum from that, adding all sorts of veg and protein to her yog. Slowly reduced the yog. We just took the view that at least she was eating. She now a healthy adult and laughs about it now.
    I run a family home grown/cooked kitchen not a restaurant. I like to start with a full run down of what and how they eat at home this is where I find doing a home visit is really helpful. I am finding children eating better since cutting out snacks.

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