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Menu planning in child care centres

Tips for child care providers

  • Post planned menus for the current and following week in an obvious place and note any substitutions on the posted menus.
  • Plan menus in consultation with the child’s parents, and/or private-home child care provider.

Menu planning steps

Use a “menu planning form” to record the week’s menus. For each category, please choose options with little or no added fat, sugar and salt. Regular fat products are acceptable for children under the age of 2 (i.e., regular yogurt instead of non-fat).

As well, healthy food choices from the Canada Food Guide shouldn't be avoided based on their fat content (i.e., foods like meat, milk products and avocados).

Step 1: Select the meat or alternative for each day of the week.
  • Consider serving fish twice a week.
  • Choose a different meat or alternative for each day.
Step 2: Select a vegetable for each day of the week. 
  • Provide at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Include a variety of cooked and raw vegetables throughout the week.
Step 3: Select a fruit or 100% fruit juice for each day of the week.
  • Have fruit more often than fruit choose for added fibre.
Step 4: Select a grain product for each day of the week.
  • Choose whole grain products for at least half of the serving each day.
  • Include a variety of grain products such as pasta, rice, bulgur, couscous, bagels and pitas.
Step 5: Select milk or a milk product for each day of the week.
  • Serve 1% or 2% milk each day. For children under 2 years of age, whole milk (3.25%) is recommended.
  • Serve milk as a beverage at lunch or snack.
  • Serve milk products, like yogurt and cheese, for snacks and desserts.
Step 6: Plan morning and afternoon snacks to complement meals. 

Step 7: Double check your menu.