Planning a menu

Whilst it is good for children to try new things, familiar foods also need to be served so that the child’s preferences are catered for.

All children will have different tastes, differing appetites, and a different willingness to try new foods, and these may change over time. Daily and weekly menu planning can help ensure that children receive adequate nutrients everyday.

girl eating an apple

So when Nola takes into account the menu for the week she needs to consider the:

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Look at this Sample menu (Word 41Kb) and write your response to the following:

  1. Are all the food groups covered everyday?
  2. Are the recommended dietary guidelines met for children 5 years and younger?
  3. Is there a wide variety of food, colours and textures?
  4. How would this menu be adapted for the babies’ room?
  5. How would this menu be adapted for children age 6-12 years?
  6. What would have to be done if a new child started at the centre on Wednesdays who is a vegetarian?
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Now it's your turn to develop your own menus, one for winter and one for summer.

Choose an age group (either babies, 3-5 years or 6-12 years). Remember to include all the food groups and to ensure you have adequate serves of each in accordance with the recommended dietary intake.

Compile your menus in your notebook, or use this template Blank sample menu (Word 40Kb), or in a format of your own choice.

Sometimes you will need to educate and support families by providing them with information about healthy eating. Do you have any ideas about how you could do this?

Firstly your centre's food and nutrition policy will be available for parents to read in your handbook. This will be a good starting point. You can also make sure that your menus are displayed in a prominent area for families to see. You can share popular recipes with parents and ask for recipes from them that might be included in some of your menus.

The children can be involved in learning about healthy eating and share their investigation with their parents. Posters in the foyer can be displayed and even guest speakers can be arranged to talk to parents about nutrition.

To make sure you have completed all the activities for this section, you can use the Activity Checklist (Word 83Kb). You can print the checklist to keep in your notebook.