Whole Foods Lifestyle - Unhealthy meals/snacks at my son's daycare




kuhrisuh
01-23-2012, 07:58 PM
I've recently been reading/learning about the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based, unprocessed diet. I'm currently transitioning into this lifestyle, making different substitutions for meat/animal/processed products each time we go grocery shopping (my boyfriend still eats it all, but is supportive).

My son just turned one and was OKd by the doc to eat anything. I've always been really mindful of what he eats (I wish relatives were too, but that's a topic for another post, ha!) and I want to do everything I can to set up him for a healthy life. My concern is that at his daycare, they feed him things like tater tots, chocolate chip cookies, hamburger meat, etc. along with fruits and veggies and milk. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to pack a lunch for him and can only place restrictions on what they feed him if we have a doctor's note.

Any suggestions on how I can handle this situation? I feel so out of control on this, and like I said, it's important to me that my son is healthy and grows without the weight problems that I suffered. Any advice is appreciated :)


QuilterInVA
01-23-2012, 08:40 PM
I doubt one meal a day is going to give him weight problems if you keep him on a healthy diet at home. Hamburger is not poison. If you feed him properly, when he gets to the age where he can say what he likes to eat, he won't eat the junk.

mandalinn82
01-23-2012, 08:45 PM
Well, that daycare has a clear policy - he eats their food unless he has a doctor's note. So assuming you have no medical reason to restrict his diet, you probably should investigate another daycare.

I can understand their point - surely it's easier to just feed everyone the same thing. But if it's important to you that he NOT eat the same thing as the other kids, you need to find a place for him that doesn't have that policy in place.


joyc21
01-23-2012, 09:38 PM
IMO there's nothing wrong with tater tots, hamburger, etc. as long as they're enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. If you feel strongly that you don't want him to have these things, even in moderation, I think you should find a different daycare.

sontaikle
01-23-2012, 10:27 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if other daycares have similar policies. It has more to do with allergies than anything else (you would be surprised at the number of kids that have allergies nowadays and what they have allergies to).

I used to be an assistant teacher at a daycare and the policy was the same. The employees couldn't even bring food in (which was a contributing factor in me quitting because I hated not being able to prepare my own food). However the particular daycare I worked in served healthy and fresh food (prepared by a chef that day) the majority of the time. The kids were eating vegetables and fruit and lean proteins :)

If you want your son to eat healthy, I would investigate other daycares but do not be surprised if almost all of them have a similar policy in place. Find out what food the daycare serves if they do have such a policy, I'm sure there's at least one out there that is big on nutrition.

Munchy
02-06-2012, 02:30 PM
I do pack my daughter's lunch for preschool, but she eats one snack and one breakfast that are provided by the school. While they aren't 100% natural foods, they have a policy on providing nutritious and balanced meals for the kids.

I'd research other daycares to find one that is more aligned with your beliefs.

mirax3
03-09-2012, 05:11 PM
I worked for a daycare for a year where they served the same food that you are describing. Is the daycare operated out of a home, or is it a chain?


While I was working there, I was sickened by the way that the cook prepared the food. Loads of butter on the veggies, processed meat chicken nuggets, oily hamburgers, chocolate chip cookies for snack as you described, and whole milk with every meal. I too believe in a whole foods diet and I would suggest that you either try to talk to the owners/directors of the daycare, or find another daycare that allows you to bring your own food.


I think you will be hard pressed to find a daycare that does not serve that type of food as it is convenient, cheap, and keeps costs down. When I petitioned my boss to serve healthier foods, she replied that it would be more expensive and not worth it...

Good luck, I hope you can figure something out!

smarkey
03-09-2012, 09:22 PM
Get a note from your doctor and promise to not put peanut butter on anything.

threenorns
03-09-2012, 09:34 PM
the reality is, your son is at day care and you don't have a lot of control. if you want 100% control over his day-to-day care, you need to stay home with him.

my daughter was in day care and it's the same thing - they have a generally healthy diet but they do get candies and cookies and other junk food. i finally just accepted that it's better for her to get her fix in a controlled environment rather than not get any at all and it becomes the "forbidden fruit" to which she is vulnerable the rest of her life.

when you figure she was a size 6x at 18mo of age, you can really understand my concern about her intake. she tripled her birthweight before she started solids - not one bottle in her life; 32lbs at a year old; 50.1lbs at 20mo; 54lbs at 2yrs old and she's been bouncing betw 50 and 54 ever since - she'll be 5 next week. she still takes a 6x but now it's for length and in some clothes, she needs an 8 otherwise the pants stop above her ankles.

the day care understood my concerns but they pointed out that she has to learn healthy eating habits and that means moderation in everything - even crap.

she's very very good now - she does love her candies and chocolate but it's nothing at all like what i see other parents going through. at the grocery store, her first stop is the produce section for green grapes or blueberries or raspberries ("fingercups") and the next stop is the dairy section for cheese strings and yoghurt. she might ask for something junky but, for example, the bag of cheezy-poofs i bought for her 3 days ago is still sitting on the table, half-full. her dad'll probably finish them tonight.

astrophe
03-09-2012, 09:58 PM
So call your doctor and say "Hey, I need a doctor note because without one my daycare won't let me pack my kid's lunchbox."

Or change daycare that's more flexible.

When my kid went to preK at daycare I just packed her a lunchbox. She ate her lunchbox stuff. I did not pack anything on their allergy list and we were all good.

I'm sure she snuck some snacks in there because she's a little kid -- what does she know? And not pilfering other people's things is a manners thing toddlers/earlychildhoos kids are still are trying to learn!

But the teachers did try their best to accommodate. It helped she could handle her lunchbox things herself and self feed so nobody had to tend to her special.

I knew one day we'd have the lunchbox struggle but I prefered to have it once we hit elementary school and not in babyhood.

A.

pluckypear
03-10-2012, 05:16 PM
I've recently been reading/learning about the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based, unprocessed diet. I'm currently transitioning into this lifestyle, making different substitutions for meat/animal/processed products each time we go grocery shopping (my boyfriend still eats it all, but is supportive).

My son just turned one and was OKd by the doc to eat anything. I've always been really mindful of what he eats (I wish relatives were too, but that's a topic for another post, ha!) and I want to do everything I can to set up him for a healthy life. My concern is that at his daycare, they feed him things like tater tots, chocolate chip cookies, hamburger meat, etc. along with fruits and veggies and milk. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to pack a lunch for him and can only place restrictions on what they feed him if we have a doctor's note.

Any suggestions on how I can handle this situation? I feel so out of control on this, and like I said, it's important to me that my son is healthy and grows without the weight problems that I suffered. Any advice is appreciated :)

Wow I think this matters alot. A child in daycare is often eating several times a day. For example in an infant room they have morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack. And sometimes the children eat so much, not in a bad way (unless given unhealthy food), they will eat little dinner. And depending on pick up time there is not a lot of evening time to spare before bath and bed. So yes it really matters what they serve.

I get the allergies piece but how unsupportive of families. But yes get the Dr. note if you must. LIe if you must. Send healthy foods. However depending on the daycare your child may still be slipped these unhealthy foods. And seeing as this is a whole foods forum I do not see hot 'tater tots' can be called whole? :) When I worked in an infant room we had famlies bring in food all the time. We had a family who was Indian and they gave curry, healthy curry, to their child. We respected that as we would for families that choose vegan, breast milk only, or no gluten. But some not so ethical ECE's would just give all the children cookies or goldfish crackers and sometimes to entertain children while they clean or whatever.

I have worked in high quality child care centres for years, for an educational institution, and now teach ECE in college. I have also visited tons of daycares, good and bad. I think good ones want to partner with families and this includes supporting food choices. Yes they have to have nut free settings but that can be done.

This being said even in the best centres not all the food is great. Sometimes the cook has a bad day or unrealistic demands put on them and they serve fish sticks. Once in a blue moon is okay for some but if a family says no processed food we always have a back up. There would always be rice, fresh fruit, steamed vegetables and we could find a protein like cheese or lentil butter or beans or something.

Tater tots in an infant room. sigh I am ashamed for my profession. :o

Anyway to be fair to the ECE's (assuming they are ECE's) they are busy and may not have great support and cannot control what comes out of the kitchen. So get that Dr. note and make simple foods and simple for staff to prep, also more likely to actually make it to your child's mouth. :) YOu know oatmeal for am and fruit or whatever. If you can alternate your schedule you can feed am breakfast and say none for your child and or pick up earlier to avoid pm snack. But lunch is the big thing. And send some snacks once you get the note so your child always has food in case they ask.

Also consider going to another daycare. There are daycares that are vegetarian and or focus on a whole food diet. Granted not many but they exist.

Good luck.

Daimere
05-11-2012, 07:29 AM
I used to work in childcare and there are laws (in my state) on serving "healthy and nutritious food." Pretzels counted as a grain and apple juice counted as a fruit. Yep. When I was promoted to site director, I had a small budget and it was so hard to buy "healthy/nutritious/varied" foods on the budget. The kids got very sick of apple juice and graham crackers after a while. I'd use my own money to augment the food budget because the first week I overspent my food budget (which I was never told about). To this day I can't drink apple juice because it's blaghhhh tasting now.

stunzorz
05-23-2012, 12:14 AM
Generations of children have grown up successfully on MUCH worse food than that. He is a kid, and should probably be allowed to have a similar growing up experience to his peers. One meal a day won't hurt him, especially if he eats extremely well at home.

Emama
06-07-2012, 06:14 PM
If having your child eat healthy is important to you; get a doctor's note or find a new day care. Personally, I think the meals they are feeding him do matter.
Your baby is growing and needs all the nutrition he can get.
Best of luck : )

Pepino
06-07-2012, 07:20 PM
I agree it's horrible!

I just found out that at my daycare they fed my 1 year old balony sandwiches. First of all, he is not at the point that he could safely eat this type of food! Second of all, balony is SOOOO UNHEALTHY. The preservatives have been found to be carcinogenic. It sickens me.

The people that say it is no big deal or "switch daycares" need a reality check. All the daycares in my city have YEAR or more long waitlists and I'm still on the waitlists for a better daycare but in the meantime I'm stuck with what I have. Also, not everyone can afford to stay home.

I'm shocked that the majority of posts seem not to care or offered (to me) unrealistic advice.

So basically, to the OP, I am with you and understand 100% your concerns.

Munchy
06-08-2012, 05:31 PM
I just can't imagine that a daycare would serve bologna or hamburgers. In CT we have a state wide nutrition standard! I work at a school as well, and I'm shocked that would happen.

Link (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/chap169.htm#Sec10-215e.htm)

My daughter gets cheerios, milk, juice, fruit, wheat toast with butter, pretzels, graham crackers, granola bars, waffles, etc. It's not the healthiest food, but it's certainly not awful.

I would get a doctor's note and send in school lunch.

MarjorieMargarine
06-08-2012, 07:24 PM
I agree- I'm sure you could get a doctor to write a vague note (or even a nutritionist, perhaps?). While I do understand the issues daycares must have with being careful not to expose kids with allergies to allergens, and the difficulties of not wanting to make a hundred different menus a day for a hundred different kids, having parents agree not to pack items on the allergen list seems pretty reasonable. Maybe you can get some other parents to suggest this to the daycare as well and have them change their policy.

It must be frustrating feeling like you don't have control over what goes in your child's body.

Emama
06-09-2012, 03:53 AM
Pepino, I think people who responded do care, or they would not have bothered to respond.
Nevertheless, this mom does have an option to stay at this daycare and bring her son's food if she gets a doctor's note (she stated this).