Food Guidelines

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Overview Of The Food Program

  • The food program at the ASCDL is funded by the Child and Adult Food and Nutrition Program and meets their meal pattern criteria.
  • We serve breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.
  • All of our food is prepared on site.
  • We use as little pre-processed food as possible, preferring to use foods that have a few or no preservatives.
  • In purchasing food attention is paid to food labels, monitoring for salt, sugar, and preservatives.
  • All whole grains and fresh fruits are used, as are fresh and frozen vegetables.
  • Chicken, fish, and eggs are served, but no beef or pork.
  • Meat alternates are provided for those children who do not eat meat.
  • Alternative food items are also provided for children with food allergies or intolerances.
  • Food allergies are posted in the kitchen as well as the classrooms.
  • Breakfast and the PM supplement/snack are served at one table and are available for children to come to as they wish.
  • Breakfast is generally served between 8:15 and 9:00 a.m.
  • Snack is generally available between 1:30 or 2:00-2:45 p.m.
  • In the Modoc or Purple Room children are encouraged to be sure that they are finished before leaving the breakfast or snack table. They are reminded that when they leave the table that they are finished with the meal.
  • Because research indicates that the consumption of too much fruit juice has been linked to childhood obesity, we limit the amount of fruit juice served at snack time to ½ cup for each child. Water is available and children are encouraged to drink it if they are thirsty.
  • In each of the classrooms children are assigned to lunch tables. They sit at the same lunch table each day and with the same "lunch table" teacher. The staff make these lunch table assignments based upon their knowledge of the child’s development, temperament, needs, and social relationships. The purpose of sitting at the lunch table each day with the same teacher is to provide children with continuity, the opportunity to develop deeper relationships and to feel a part of a smaller group. It also provides teachers with the opportunity to observe, work with, and get to know a small group of children more intimately.

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Preparing The Table

There are certain sanitation steps that we follow in preparing a table for mealtime or food tasting. These include:
  • Clearing off a table
  • Washing hands
  • Spraying the table where food is to be served or prepared with a disinfectant spray. This should be done without children near the table
  • A paper towel is then used to wipe off and dry the table. A separate paper towel should be used for each table.
  • If we are preparing for lunch these steps will be followed at each lunch table
  • Once these steps have been followed the table has been sanitized and is safe for eating or food preparation.

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Meal Service

  • All meals are served family style. This means that there is one bowl or plate for each food item being served and that everyone at the table is served from this bowl. The bowls are placed on trays. These food trays are then placed on cubes next to the lunch table.
  • As in all areas we ask that adults serve as role models of positive behavior and exhibit the behaviors they wish to promote in children
  • To minimize choking hazards we require that all children stay seated while eating. This means that they must chew and swallow their food before getting up.
  • We do not require that children say please and thank you, but we certainly appreciate and model this. Our focus is more on the ways in which children ask for food items and or talk with teachers and peers.
  • We place a little bit of each food item on each child’s plate. This may mean that a child who is adamant about their dislike for peas may have one pea put on their plate. We often say that it is our job to serve them a little bit of everything and it is their job to decide what they will eat. We encourage them to try new foods without pressuring. Again we are in charge of choosing foods that are available, and they are in charge of choosing what to eat.
  • Lunch is served at approximately the same time each day in each of the classrooms with the youngest classrooms receiving food trays first.
  • It is important that the lunch table teacher have their hands washed and be at the lunch table at the same time or prior to the children who sit with her/him. This is particularly true with younger children and is an example a way to forestall problems. It also serves as a means of inviting children to join in.
  • In each of the classrooms lunch table teachers begin serving children food as they arrive at the table.
  • When serving milk pour a small amount for the larger pitcher into the smaller pitcher or measuring cup. Allow the child to pour their own cup of milk. Then follow this procedure with each child.
  • The children may begin eating and drinking as soon as they are served, avoid making children wait to eat when they are hungry.
  • Encourage the use of utensils while also remembering that all families eat in a variety of ways.
  • Mealtime is a time for eating and pleasant conversation. It is a wonderful time to engage children in extended language.
  • However, there are times when children show us that they are not interested in mealtime. They may begin to play or jump around while eating. We then remind them that, "This is a time for eating. When you are up and jumping around you are showing me that you are all done." If the behavior continues we follow through and excuse them from the table.
  • Most importantly, enjoy this small group time! Ask lots of open-ended questions and encourage taking turns talking and listening. Examples:
    • What is your favorite toy at school/ at home?
    • What do you think the weather will be like later?
    • Has anyone seen any new movies?
    • What might it be like to live near (or in) the ocean?

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