a toddler feeding herself with a spoon

Daycare Menus, Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack Ideas

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It’s essential to provide balanced and nutritious meals for children in daycare. We are responsible for such a high percentage of their meals. Serving kids quality meals is a huge part of running a home daycare. Here’s a week’s worth of daycare menus, breakfast, lunch, and snack.

Daycare Menus, Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Ideas

Sample daycare menu

Meeting all the food program requirements, giving the kids proper nutrition, and staying on a budget can be hard. Here are some ideas to planning a daycare menu that will meet CACFP standards:

If you are looking for inspiration for great meal ideas for young kids, check out this collection of Daycare Lunches for toddlers and preschoolers (even the picky ones!). Easy, simple, and tasty enough for the whole family to enjoy!

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain toast with cream cheese and sliced bananas and milk.
  • Lunch: Baked chicken tenders, brown rice, and steamed broccoli. A side of fruit salad and milk.
  • Snack: Baby carrots and hummus. (these can be microwaved for 1-2 minutes for toddlers to soften them up)

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheese, whole wheat toast, and a side of mixed berries and milk.
  • Lunch: Turkey and cheese roll-ups, cucumber slices, a small apple, and milk.
  • Snack: Whole grain crackers with cheese.

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with honey and granola. A side of fresh strawberries and milk.
  • Lunch: Tuna salad on whole wheat bread, cherry tomatoes, a side of pineapple chunks, and milk.
  • Snack: Veggie sticks (celery, bell peppers) with ranch dressing and crackers.

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain waffles with a dollop of yogurt and blueberries. A glass of milk on the side.
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup, a side of grapes, and milk.
  • Snack: Sliced peaches and cottage cheese.

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal topped with a drizzle of honey and sliced almonds. A side of orange slices and milk.
  • Lunch: Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce and meatballs. A side of steamed green beans and milk.
  • Snack: Sliced apples with almond butter.

Remember to always consider any dietary restrictions or allergies the children may have. Meals should be varied to expose the children to a wide range of foods and nutrients. It is also essential to consider the portion sizes appropriate for their age and developmental stage.

Always aim for balanced meals that include a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and fruits/vegetables. And remember fluid milk must be served at breakfast and lunch as well. Try to have some cold and some hot foods, and a variety of colors as well. Make the meals visually appealing as much as you can.

a toddler eating a plate of food in a high chair

Breakfasts for daycare menu

Here are some daycare breakfast ideas that are nutritionally balanced and appealing to children:

Day 1:

  • Whole grain cereal with milk and a side of sliced bananas.

Day 2:

  • Mini breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs and cheese wrapped in a whole grain tortilla) with milk and apple slices.

Day 3:

  • Overnight oats topped with mixed berries and a drizzle of honey with milk.

Day 4:

Day 5:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of apple slices and milk.

Day 6:

  • Pancake bites (mini pancakes) with a side of Greek yogurt and strawberries with milk.

Day 7:

  • Egg muffins and a side of fresh fruit salad and milk.

For more breakfast inspiration, check these out:

Lunches for daycare menu

Here are some nutritious and child-friendly lunch ideas for a daycare:

Day 1:

  • Meatballs, whole grain pasta, steamed carrots, and a side of apple slices and milk.

Day 2:

  • Grilled cheese sandwich on whole grain bread, tomato soup, and a side of cucumber sticks and milk.

Day 3:

  • Shredded chicken taco with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, brown rice, and a side of diced peaches and milk.

Day 4:

  • Tuna roll ups, cherry tomatoes, and a side of mixed fruit and milk.

Day 5:

  • Pasta salad, carrot sticks, and a side of sliced strawberries and milk.

Day 6:

Day 7:

For more ideas for daycare lunches, check these out:

daycare kids eating snack at a table

Snacks for daycare menu

Here are some nutritious and appealing snack ideas suitable for a daycare setting:

Day 1:

  • Hummus with baby carrots and cucumber slices.

Day 2:

  • Low-fat yogurt with a sprinkle of granola.

Day 3:

  • Whole grain rice cakes with cream cheese and blueberries on top.

Day 4:

  • Sliced apples with peanut butter (or an allergy-friendly alternative).

Day 5:

  • Celery sticks with cream cheese and raisins (“ants on a log”).

Day 6:

  • Cheese cubes and whole grain crackers.

Day 7:

  • Fresh fruit salad with a dollop of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

For more snack ideas for daycare, check these out:

The challenge of planning daycare menus is just being creative. Trying to find as many healthy foods as you can that the kids will eat. And don’t forget a new food needs to be introduced a few times before a child may want to try it.

If kids are used to a happy meal in the back seat of the car lifestyle, fruits and vegetables may take some getting used to. But the kids are with you for 3 out of their 4 meals a day, so it’s worth it to try to give them the best quality food you can. Nutrition is even more important for growing bodies than you can imagine. So don’t give up!

Daycare menu ideas

For more daycare menu ideas and help planning your menus, check this out: The Complete Guide to Planning Daycare Menus.

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