Knowing families' practices will help you accommodate their preferences in your child care program.
Including foods from different cultures as a regular part of your menus, instead of a "special" food served only on certain days, is a more effective way to help children learn about foods eaten in different cultures.Families who follow a vegetarian diet may request that vegetarian meals for their children. Some children may eat poultry and fish but avoid red meat.Child care providers and directors should discuss the specific vegetarian diet with the parents, and decide how to accommodate the child's needs.If the menus cannot be changed completely, you may be able to make some substitutions for children who do not eat meat or other animal products.Any nutrition-related services included in a child’s IEP deemed necessary for the child to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) must be provided at public expense and at no cost to the child’s family. Schools are reminded that they may have additional obligations to children with disabilities under the IDEA, beyond the scope of FNS guidance.
The guidance addresses IDEA 2004 and the ADA and makes it clear that if a student has a documented disability that restricts her diet, the school food service department must make the substitutions in lunches and afterschool snacks for the student.Here are some guidelines child care providers can use to manage food allergies in the child care setting: Occasionally, a family’s religious beliefs will prohibit or demand certain foods or foods at certain times.When you talk with parents before enrolling the child, ask about these special practices, and discuss with the parents the best ways to accommodate these dietary changes.If a meal modification for a child’s disability can be made within the Program meal pattern, a medical statement is not necessary.See the Meal Modifications section of the If this information is already in your child’s IEP or 504 Plan, you may not need a separate medical statement. Clear communication about the requirements for the medical statement can help reduce the burden for families, school service professionals, and other school personnel.Consider including some of these foods in your weekly menus, both to help children from that culture feel more comfortable, and to introduce other children in in the child care program to these foods that are part of their classmate's culture.