Preparing for and enjoying meals are an important part of our day. It’s a time to nourish our growing systems, our minds and practice our social skills and feel the sense of community. Children will set their table for each meal, including snacks and will always eat seated around a table. We will practice our table manners and learn about the food we are eating, about the food groups and proper nutrition. We learn about the cycle of life via gardening; planting seeds/seedlings, tending the garden, harvesting, preparing meals, composting what is unused and finally sharing, conversing and eating around a nicely set table. When they are able children will engage in measuring ingredients, preparing meals and cooking and baking.
Our menu is vegetarian (non vegan) using whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, tempeh, tofu and egg as meat substitutes. Barney and I have been vegetarians for over 20 years, so you can be rest assured the food is delicious and nutritiously balanced. Plus we follow the USDA Child Care Food Program guidelines on nutrition and participate in the Child Nutrition Program. View meal pattern here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/care/ProgramBasics/Meals/Meal_Patterns.htm
We serve home prepared meals, organic as much as possible, vegetables from local farmers or seasonally grown from our gardens, which the children will plant and tend as well as fruits from our trees including oranges, tangerines, lemons and pomegranates. We do not use toxic chemical pesticides or weed killers in our garden or on our property.
We serve whole grain or homemade breads and muffins. We will serve dairy, but can accommodate lactose intolerance and other food allergies, such as nut and gluten. Milk, soy or rice milk will be served with each meal and water is available throughout the day.
We will introduce infants to solids and new foods per a parent, doctor and school planned and agreed upon schedule. All children will be encouraged, never forced to try new foods, to develop their palates and ensure well balanced nutrition.