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#1 Sat 04 Feb 12 10:40pm

trailbiker

Member
Occupation Primary School midday supervisor & play worker
From Suffolk, UK
Member since Sat 04 Feb 12

20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

Hi all, I'm new to this site and am seeking some advice please. I am looking to start a cooking job at a childrens nursery  hmm , 20 children with an age range between 2 to 4. Question is, what would be a good healthy daily menu?  yummy

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#2 Sat 04 Feb 12 10:53pm

Birdymum

Forum champ
From Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Member since Thu 23 Oct 08

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

Welcome to the forums trailbiker. There are heaps of nutritionally great recipes on this site, the search function is user friendly.

Kids love things they can pick up and eat with fingers also fruits and brightly coloured foods. Mine used to graze in the veggie garden on things like snow peas, raspberries, plumbs and miniature tomatoes. I made things like home-made veggie pizzas, chicken stir fry and anything using fresh veggies.

Good luck with your new job.

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#3 Sat 04 Feb 12 11:08pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

Perhaps you can look up 'madamada' on the blog section or Grand_ma.  These are the same person who changed her screen name.  Her posts about Robert and working with him, a chef who was hired to cook for young school children in the Friuli region of Italy will change anyone's idea of what it can be, what it should be and how to make kids love and become interested in good food.

Perhaps, she can pinpoint those posts with a link if she sees this, as her blog is quite long.  You will enjoy her blog though and be caught up in her amazing life.

Last edited by MsPablo (Sat 04 Feb 12 11:15pm)

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#4 Sat 04 Feb 12 11:38pm

trailbiker

Member
Occupation Primary School midday supervisor & play worker
From Suffolk, UK
Member since Sat 04 Feb 12

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

Thank you MsPablo and Birdymum for your swift responses, I shall try some searches.

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#5 Sat 04 Feb 12 11:50pm

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

When my daughter was at creche her favourite was the chicken soup! I'll ask her if she remembers anything else.

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#6 Sun 05 Feb 12 2:03pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

welcome to the forum trailbiker  smile

What country do you live in ?

I think what is important is to get in all the food groups , but being careful about the quantity of sugary or fatty foods. I am not saying that these should be avoided but you need to think about how you use these food groups.

Small children rush about and will need foods that gove them the energy to do this.

I have found that small children will eat most things as long as they are not overwhelmed by quantity or too much choice.

For mid morning and mid afternoon snacks finger foods are good , but for lunch time they need to be sitting at a table and eating a meal of some sort.

Dont shy away from spicy foods as these will be eaten happily , just make them a slightley  milder that you would for an adult .

Use plenty of fresh ingredients and avoid the pre-made products that can easily be bought.

Remember that this might be the one meal that children actually sit at a table to eat and you might need to teach then to use a knife and fork as some might have only been use to using a spoon and some never sit at a table to eat , it might be also the only meal that they sit down to eat with others and many people seem to feed their children at a different time of day to the adults in the family.

What sort of meals have you been thinking of ?

Have you been n touch with the local authority to see if there are any guidelines that need to be adheared to ?

I am not sure f the current trends but when I had my children they were not supposed to be given wholewheat untill they were 2  (or 2 and a half  )years old and they should have whole milk untill they were 7 years old, You will need to check out the current Guidelines on this and other issues.

Remember children will eat the same as any adult , you do not need 'childrens meals' , portion the meals accordingly to the size of the child and their needs.

All children will have a particular like or dislike but most will eat anything !

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#7 Sun 05 Feb 12 6:12pm

minerva

Forum champ
Occupation Walking the Old Ways
From Living in the Wild Woods
Member since Wed 16 Jan 08

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

All of the above...........goes without saying!

One thing that must be considered these days..........COST!

Meat/Fish is expensive, as is any fruit/veg that is imported or out of season.......which is a heck of a lot if you live in Britain........forget the complete Mediterranean menu if you are on a very tight budget, however good it is, you can't afford it!

However, plenty of pulses & beans, pasta & a little judicious potato, & the Mediterranean sun can still shine brightly for the right price.
Plenty of good colourful veg is available year-round, as are a fair few fruits (frozen are expensive, but a few go a long way in winter when mixed with cheaper, more boring ones).
Lots of kids love Marmite (some don't, it's true) which shows they love big flavours..............tomato sauces are a fab way of getting vitamins in there, it's easy to hide all sorts of veg ie spinach in a good tommy sauce...............Shepherd's Pie/Moussaka/Lasagne are all good either with a minimum of meat or no meat at all. Frittata/Spanish Omelette is cheap & filling & again can incorporate all sorts of extra veg & be served with salads. Jacket Potatoes.....the list of nutritous fillings is endless. Soups of every kind work..........if they are chunky ones though, consider how easy they are for little ones to eat.

If cost is a real consideration, work on seasonings, herbs & spices.........they are the elements that will turn a nutritous but boring dish into an exciting one..& for only pennies.

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#8 Sun 05 Feb 12 7:57pm

trailbiker

Member
Occupation Primary School midday supervisor & play worker
From Suffolk, UK
Member since Sat 04 Feb 12

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

Thank you for the further comments, all good info.
We live in Suffolk, England, so I can check out if our LA has any guidelines. I don't yet know how much I will have to spend, should be going along this week to talk details.
For the midday meal I was thinking along the lines of shepards pie and your suggestions of moussaka and lasagne would be ideal as well, all served with fresh local veg, I'm feeling hungry already. Hadn't thought of omlette, that would be good - thanks Minerva.
Jacket potatoe with fillings - another good option.
Snacks could be thinly sliced veg and fruit and various dips.
I can see a plan coming together, thanks again for your suggestions, much appreciated clap

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#9 Sun 05 Feb 12 8:23pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

I remember my boys lunches at their baby school...the canteen room was filled with 15 at a time, the youngest 2/3yr olds would eat first, then the 4/5's in two seperate groups. At that time any two parents were invited to participate.

Just one lunch example:

Starters were soups made on the premises.... different every day...quick, easy and healthy.

The favorite were Quiches, served once a week i remember that they were often made with brocoli, fresh peas, slices of tomato. Quickly made and easy to eat...

Served with tomatos halved, sprinkled with bread crumbs, chopped parsley and cooked in the oven.

The lunch Ladies were proud of their meals and often gave 'little names' to the food that they had cooked...they called this dish 'sun up sun down'....tomato sun up and the golden Quiche was the sun down.

A dish of chopped salad (mixed lettuce) was placed on the table and each helped themselves.

Deserts, chocolate mousse, red fruits with ice cream...caramel cream, soft battered cheese with a spoonful of sugar....

Then a cheese plate with two types of bread which was sliced on another dish, they helped themselves to whatever they wanted.

Jugs of naturel water were on each table, there were many accidents but those little kids were proud to serve themselves.

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#10 Sun 05 Feb 12 10:39pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: 20 children aged 2 - 4yrs, daily menu ideas?

Some little  children find baked otato a bit tricky to cope with as their coordination is still not as good as it could be.
Mashed potato always goes down well and could be served with all sorts of topping.

Things like coscous or a savry rice might be a  nice alternative sometimes .
Yu could make potato wedges in the oven using those little salad potatoes , cutting them and then tossing them in a tiny bit of olive oil before putting them into the oven to cook , these are a good alternative t chips and as they have very little oil on them before they are baked they arn too bad to have on the menu occasionally.

Little tinypies or quiches made in bun tins might be nice as well as children love mini things and feel special that they have something small for them selves.

I help in a primay school and the children at school have a salad bar that they can add a bit of salad to their meal from , they seem to like this . They like being in control and being able to choose. They also like being able to serve themselves.

Kye , we should all have gone to school in France I think as we do not get starters or a cheese plate and most schools dnt get salad with their meals either ( unless they chose a salad !)  clap

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