Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day Care Meals

Homemade pumpkin muffins.

Eating in natural technicolor.

Wow, nothing like having a rare neurological illness with cognitive issues to keep one away from blogging. Thankfully, it's all cleared up.

Hopefully, I can get back to posting on this.

The day care i send my son to, not unlike many others, does serve a hot lunch and two snacks. Unfortunately, my son is allergic to dairy- and I find their food to be too focused on junk food for snacks (ask about the time someone gave my son Cheetos) and lacking in variety. Most entrees contain dairy of some sort as well.

There are certain things that are important to me as well. I want my son to be exposed to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, I want his diet to contain whole grains and be low in sugar, and I want him to be exposed to the kinds of foods our normal family diet, which is high in beans/legumes and low in meat.

At the day care, they do very well taking care of our son, and he enjoys going there. However, I don't want him eating mac'n cheese, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs with a side of nasty canned mixed veggies and mandarin oranges.

I do have a problem, though. The day care is unable to heat his food, and everything I pack has to be shelf-stable or be OK to eat cold. Factor in our busy schedule, and we can add quick and easy to those requirements. I don't care to rely on prepackaged toddler meals either. Not only are they expensive, but they are loaded with sodium.

I generally have to send two full meals and two snacks, plus the almond milk he drinks for the week.

Here's a list of what I generally send:

Breakfast- whole grain, fruit, and 50/50 mixture of goat milk and almond milk
Kashi blueberry waffle (this has more protein and fiber, but will use Nutrigrain waffle if not on sale)
Swiss Baby Muesli (has lots of protein/fiber and is easily mixed, plus no heating required)
Pumpkin or Zucchini Muffin (these can be made in large batches and freeze well)
Whole-wheat or sweet-potato pancake (dairy-free, and they freeze well too)

Unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon
We usually do applesauce, because it it cheap, and he does get fresh fruit with other meals

Lunch- whole grain, vegetable, protein
Lentil Dhal and brown rice
Egg Salad or a deviled egg (lite mayo usually has dairy, so we go for full-fat)
Whole wheat crackers with almond butter
Whole Grain Pasta with tomato and basil
Leftover Meatloaf
Hummus with toasted Ezekial Bread strips to dip (this bread is pricey, but has loads of protein. I buy it maybe once a month for our son, and we usually eat homemade wheat bread ourselves)
Iron-fortified mixed-grain or barley cereal
Carrots, peas 'n carrots, corn, or green beans- cooked from frozen the night before
Squash, baked acorn or butternut, or sauteed yellow squash or zucchini
Sweet potato, easily microwaved and mashed

Always fruit and soy yogurt for first snack
Fruits include blueberries, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, watermelon, raspberries, kiwi, pears

Second snack is usually a cereal bar (made with fruit paste on not sugar) or Cascadian Farm organic "Cheerios". I buy a boat load of boxes when they are on sale.