Overview Here at Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre, we understand that our influence on nutrition is very important. Our role is to ensure the children in our facility receive nutritious meals, learn good eating habits and develop healthy attitudes toward food. We take this opportunity to shape our children’s eating habits to be as healthy as possible. Our nutrition guidelines meet all the nutritional requirements set out in the Child Care and Early Years Act. This policy will highlight and explain our nutrition plans, menus, support of vitamins, minerals and energy for the growing children in our facility. Our nutrition guide and menu plans follow the Eat Well, Live Well with Canada’s Food Guide, revised in 2019. We follow the recommendations for types of food required each day. We also recognize that each child is an individual and the amount of food they require to meet their energy and nutrient needs will vary. For instance, younger children typically require smaller serving sizes than older children and it is always better to offer smaller portions initially and provide more food if the child is still hungry. The Importance of Healthy Eating for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre understands that food is more than just something to eat! Food is important for all children because:
Children grow and develop more rapidly during the first three years than at any other time of life
As children learn to feed themselves, they are developing motor skills. Consuming food provides learning opportunities.
Variety is the spice of life. Young children are curious and want to try new foods. Studies show that children who have experience a variety of food tastes, textures, and colours when they are young are better eaters and are better nourished.
Mealtime provides a good opportunity for children and staff to communicate in a family-style setting and provide pleasure and satisfaction for children in a relaxed atmosphere. Children acquire attitudes towards food from their care providers.
Good eating habits learned in the early years can last a lifetime.
Our Nutrition Policy Helps Children Receive:
Proper amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease
Achieve overall health and vitality
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre follows The Canadian Food Guide by:
Preparing meals that include food from each of the four food groups. For children, one Food Guide Serving from a food group such as Meat and Alternatives can be divided into smaller amounts of food throughout the day.
We make sure to offer children a total of two cups of milk or fortified soy beverage each day. This will help meet their requirements for Vitamin D.
We offer a variety of nutritious foods, including some choices that contain healthy fat such as milk and avocado.
We make time for healthy eating so our children don’t feel rushed. We set regular nutrition breaks for meals and snacks and this helps establish part of our healthy routine.
We sit down and eat with the children. We always provide a pleasant setting.
We allow our preschoolers and senior toddlers to help with simple food related takes. Asking them to prep the table, serving themselves, scrapping plates, hand washing routines and clean up help.
We always offer suitable portions and options for seconds.
We are always patient. If unfamiliar food is rejected the first time, it can be offered again later. The more often children are exposed to new foods, they are more likely they are to accept them.
We always govern a positive model for children. They will be more likely to enjoy a variety of foods and try new foods, if the educators do as well!
We organize fun and easy physical activities throughout our day to keep our bodies active. Children rely on us to provide them with proper opportunities for physical activity.
We always provide alternatives and adjust our menu for any allergies or dietary restrictions.
We follow strict protocol when dealing with any sort of food allergy (signage, hand-washing and avoiding cross contaminations when dealing with alternatives).
In accordance with the Child Care Early Years Act, Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre ensures that:
Parents are providing written feeding instructions for all children less than one year of age.
Parents are providing written instructions for all children with special dietary needs.
Food or drink provided by parents must be clearly labelled with the child’s name and the date the food was sent to the centre.
Food is stored in a manner that maximizes their nutritive value and minimizes the risk of contamination or spoilage.
A list of children with food allergies and the specifics of the restrictions/ allergies and it is posted in clear view in both the cooking area and play areas
Complete menus are posted on our Kitchen Information and Menu Board located right outside the kitchen.
All menus are kept for a minimum of 30 days following the last day that it was applicable.
Dalhousie Educators “Job” Child’s “Job”
WHAT to eat; choosing what foods are offered. A family and child can have input, but we set limits
HOW MUCH; children know how much to eat when they can listen to their internal cues for hunger and fullness
WHEN to eat; having a schedule of regular meals and snacks spread out throughout the day
WHETHER to eat; children will eat. It is most important what they eat over time
WHERE to eat; making mealtime pleasant, eating together as a group and removing distractions from the table (ie: books, toys, craft supplies)
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre Ensures:
Children are never forced to eat or punished them for not eating. This would create negative feelings associated with food
Food is never used as a reward, punishment, or bribe
We understand that from time to time a child might miss a meal and snack, but they will not do it for long enough to cause severe malnutrition
We understand that picky eating will only get better when a child knows that we will not control how much they eat or whether they do eat
We always make mealtime and snack time pleasant
We always provide a variety of healthy food choices
We offer meals and snacks at consistent times each day so that children can learn to count on the next nutrition break
Milk Homogenized (3.25%) is recommended as a child’s main milk source until the age of two years (for those who no longer breast feed) Homogenized milk is provided to children up to 2 two years of age. After the age of two, 2% milk is provided. Milk is offered at lunch time. For infants under one of age formula or milk if provided as per parent instruction. (see additional Requirements for Food and Drink below)
Water While milk can be served with meals and snacks, safe water is readily available for children to drink throughout the day. Hydration is important to keep organs working well and may help prevent the children from becoming irritable. Choking Prevention
We cut food into small bite-sized pieces
We identify potentially dangerous foods ie: grapes
We make sure the child is sitting upright while eating
We always supervise the children while eating
We discourage talking with a full mouth
Food Allergy Steps Taken to Help a Food Allergic Child:
We develop a food plan with the parent or guardian to meet the child’s special dietary needs that would also meet the nutrition requirements of the Child Care Early Years Act
Inform other children and their parents about the need to modify the menu to reduce exposure to allergenic food
We are aware of what types of food that a child should avoid
We are sure to tell the parents or guardians if we notice any evidence of reactions to food while in our care and we follow our safety procedures
We make the child’s family aware of upcoming menu plans to inform them of what new foods will be introduced. This is especially important for our infants and toddlers as they are being introduced to new foods for the first time.
We discourage parents from providing “homemade treats”.
We teach children:
Not to share lunches, food, or utensils, or containers
We review food through activities and art
We teach proper hand-washing to prevent cross-contamination
We are all trained on our allergy procedures and are aware of any child with allergies or food restrictions
Additional Requirement for Food Allergy
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre will post planned menus for the current and following weeks in a conspicuous place in our centre including any substitutions noted on the posted menus.
A menu shall be kept in our records for at least 30 days after the last day for which it is applicable.
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre will ensure that a list is posted in each cooking and serving area in our centre that sets out the names of the children who have food allergies or other food restrictions and their respective allergies or restrictions.
The anaphylactic policy, the individual plan for a child with anaphylaxis and the emergency procedures in respect ot the child shall be reviewed as follows:
By all employees, before the begin their employment
By all volunteers and students who will be providing temporary care or supervision of children at the centre
By each person described above, at least annually after the first review and at any other time when substantive changes are made to the policy, plan or procedure.
We ensure that where special dietary and feeding arrangements have been made with the licensee with respect to a child receiving childcare, the arrangements are carried out in accordance with the written instructions from the parent of the child.
Inspections: Medical officer of health recommendations, inspections
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre shall ensure that any recommendation or instruction of a medical officer of health with respect to any matter that may affect the health or well-being of a child receiving child care is carried out by our staff.
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre, shall ensure that, where a report is made by the local medical officer of health or any person designated by the local medical officer of health or any person designated by the local medical officer of health or the local fire department, one copy of the report is kept on the premises of the child care centre and another copy is sent to the program advisor.
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre, shall ensure that in respect to our centre, a record is kept of all inspections made by any person, and any inspector or program advisor, and that any recommendations are recorded in the daily written record.
Dalhousie Parents’ Day Care Centre, shall ensure that up-to-date records regarding all affairs of each child file, and are available for inspection by an inspector or program advisor at all times.
Additional Requirements for Food and Drink
Each infant under one-year-old in our care and under our supervision is fed in accordance with written instructions from a parent of the child;
Where the food or drink or both are supplied by a parent of a child, the container for the food or drink is labelled with the child’s name; and
All food or drink is stored, prepared and served to retain maximum nutritive value and prevent contamination
Where the child is present at meal time, a meal must be supplied and provided
Between meal snacks must be supplied and provided
Where a child receives care for six or more hours, we will ensure that the total food offered to the child includes, in addition to any meals provided, two snacks.
Drinking water will always be available
All meals, snacks and beverages must meet the recommendations set out in the Health Canada documents “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide”, “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide- First Nations, Inuit and Metis”, or “Nutrition for healthy term Infants”, as amended from time to time, as the case may be.