Nursery Nutrition

When selecting day care for your child, you ask about schedule, pick-up times and activities. But do you ask, “What’s for lunch?” Nutritionists say you should. Not only that, you should also ask how food is served. Here is a menu of questions smart moms should ask about their day care’s diet.

When it comes to food, kids know what they like and what they don’t. So how do you insure they get what’s good for them? Day care owner Christy says only one in five parents ask her about meals when considering her center.

“Obviously, you want to look for nutrition. It really should conform to USDA standards,” Christy says. By checking menus, past and present, Delk says you can get a look at what’s served and how frequently.

“If they have a kitchen, I would definitely ask about health inspections,” Christy says. Those records should be on file at the day care or with the county. And she says: “Food should never be withheld as a punishment. That is really, really out of bounds.”

Healthy snacks should supplement meals. A red flag might be a candy type, like fruit roll-ups, twice a day for the mid-morning and afternoon snack.

Also, make sure they’re drinking 100 percent fruit juice. How do you know? Just ask them to say, “Ah. If their tongue turns purple or red because of the food dye in artificial juices, you know it’s not a real juice.”

Mealtime should be used as a teaching opportunity. And maybe, little-by-little, the kids will pick up good eating habits to last a lifetime.

The American Dietetic Association urges parents to look for centers that encourage family style dining, where children sit at a table with an adult to help them.

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