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Parents Requesting Alternative Food From The Menu


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I operate a private day nursery and up to now we have always catered for children who have allergies, vegetarian or other special dietary requirements. Over the last six months we have numerous requests to provide an alternative to what is on the menu, both lunch and tea, because the parent says their child doesn't like that particular food.

 

I will always look at providing an alternative Baby menu as that is different, but for our Toddlers and Pre-School it is just becoming to difficult to keep providing alternatives for children who don't have alergies etc.

 

I would like to ask what is the policy at other settings around this. Would it be acceptable for instance to say that if we publish the menu's to all parents, if your child doesn't like what is on the menu for a particular day then they provide an alternative or should we just say that unfortunately although we will provide an alternative for children with allergies etc., we cannot provide alternative menus for those children who don't have medically diagnosed allergies etc.

 

Really appreciate your help

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That's an idea, but I would have to ask parents to inform me the week before in order to know the amount to order. Could work though.

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We are the same, offer alternatives for dietary needs etc, but we try as much as possible not to offer different foods for preferences.

 

Most of our meals are made up of multi parts ie meat / fish dish and two veg, plus possibly potatoes, so all are brought to the table in seperate bowls so children serve themselves as much or little as they like which does leave them room for preference.

 

We do find that many parents say children wont eat certain items at home, but they always eat them at nursery especially if they are able to serve themselves.

 

We always encourage children to try new foods and find that this works well. The majority of parents say that children will refuse to drink water and bring in a bottle of squash for them so we now have about 50 unopened bottles of squash in the cupboard as they are more than happy with water!!

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I am a childminder, so I am able to adapt more easily to cater for taste as well as dietray requirements, however, I am mean, so I think that you always have 2 options anyway - take it all leave it. You are not a restaurant, parents can't ask for alternatives - what if they all want a different alternative to fish pie? You'd go mad - and you really would because your cook would leave.

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But you could reviwe your menu, and get parents to tick the current meals their child likes, then list others that their child likes, and see about a revamp.

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We always have two options, veggie and non veggie. Within reason children can choose. The only time there has been an issue that really resounded was one child who didn't like tuna. We gave him the veggie meal when the non-veggie was tuna based and always offer a choice of two types of sandwich if they are on the tea menu.

I well remember him sitting at the table, a picture of misery, staring at his sandwiches (no one had asked him which he would prefer - but that's another story!!! :(xD ). I asked him what was the problem, he turned tear-filled eyes to me and in a quivery voice said "But I don't like tuna.....". Sandwiches removed and a plate with the alternative substituted...one happy little boy, tucking in with gusto.

 

I suppose it helped that I, too, dislike tuna intensely :o

 

Sue

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We are the same as Sue - offer a vegetarian and a 'meat/fish' option daily and the children choose what they would prefer, plus there is always a carbohydrate ( pasta/potato/rice etc ) and assorted veg/salad type side dishes - so there is always something all of the children will eat . We don't allow alternatives as this just causes problems with the other children, and obviously special diets are catered for separately. :o

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We cater for different dietary needs and that's it, I'm with Lolo, take it or leave it! Might sound harsh but with almost 70 children to cook for on a daily basis and many allergies/dietary needs to take into account my chef would definitely go mad if I was to say offer a choice; not to mention my line manager who would blow a gasket thinking about budgets!!!

 

I has a family once who said "she won't eat that at home, we've tried and tried but all she wants is cake and crisps"

nursery; "so what do you do"

family "we give her cake and crisps"

 

mmmm I wonder why she won't eat at home :o

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Thanks everyone for posting. We provide a veggi or meat/fish option every day. When we have sandwiches there is always two options, a veggi option like cheese and a meat or tuna etc. We cater for allergies like gluten and I am happy to do that. I have tried a menu survey before, hence what I provide now...

 

And like you Janny, my cook is being driven mad and running out of cooking space to do all these different alternatives.

 

I think I am going to revise the menu, publish it all parents and say unless your child has a diagnosed dietary/allergy need, then we can only offer these two options at every meal. With over 60 meals to cook every day, there really is no other option.

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Of course not - and it's unfair to expect you to. Our local school does a menu which goes out on Thursday for the following week. Parents choose which they want for their child and if there's no choice they like, then they bring packed lunch on that day. Parents pay for the meals their child has, bringing the lunch money in on a Monday morning.

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