Children are provided with a high-quality, diverse and healthy diet. It is important to provide a generally healthy and appealing menu with lots of variety. At Vanier Co-op, the weekly menu follows the Child Care & Early Years Act regulations, the Canada’s Food Guide and Ottawa Public Health’s Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyle framework.
- Children in early childhood (18 months to 5 years old) have high need for calories for energy and growth. Vanier Co-op ensures that all children get wholesome, high energy, nutritious foods from the guidelines of the Canada’s Food Guide including . Nutritious food that contains fat such as milk, yogurt, eggs and cheese are good options. (NOTE: Vanier Co-op is a NUT free (both peanut/tree nut) environment.)
- Every meal is planned to include a minimum of 3 of the 4 food groups from the Food Guide; while, each snack provides a minimum of 2 of the food groups. Snack and lunchtime meal provide a source of protein from either the Meat and Alternatives or the Milk and Alternatives group.
- Water is served to children with every snack or meal as it teaches children to hydrate and satisfy cravings with water. Water is available for children to drink throughout the to quench their thirst.
- According to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide children are to consume a minimum of one 75g serving of Meat and Alternatives per day. Since young children have smaller appetites, they can separate the serving into two smaller servings. The children consume at least three quarters of their food group daily intake while at the centre and at least half of their Meat and Alternatives.
- Children are offered a minimum of two servings of milk or milk alternative with every meal or snack meeting their growing needs and consuming a source of protein.
- Veggie plates and fruit trays available frequently which provide fibre, folate, vitamin B6, C, A, as well as potassium and magnesium. Bright colours, friendly shapes and different textures help children appreciate, the natural texture and flavour of healthy foods.