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Health

A Complete Guide to Happy, Healthy Meals and Snacks at Chicago Preschools

Many parents in Chicago prefer sending their children to a preschool that provides meals and snacks to the little ones in their care. It gives parents a mini break from preparing meals and snacks to send off throughout the week while ensuring kids still get delicious, nutritious foods. There is also the additional perk of exposing children to new foods they may not have at home. 

While convenient, the change of having someone else provide meals and snacks for their child may raise some questions and concerns. Several steps, many of which involve open communication, can simplify the transition and make it more seamless and comfortable for everyone involved. 

Notify the Preschool of Allergies 

A disclosure of allergies is typically necessary on the initial sign-up forms. It’s important to ensure this area is complete. Also, inform the preschool immediately if you find out your child is allergic to any additional foods after you already filled out the forms. 

Depending on the new allergy, the preschool may need to make adjustments to what they serve your child and/or how they prepare the food. Or maybe you may feel more comfortable sending them in with homemade food going forward: Keep the lines of communication open to make this as seamless as possible.

Inform About Dislikes and Preferences 

No parent wants their child to go through the school day hungry. Preschools typically have at least a couple of backup options in case a little one refuses to eat what they are given. 

Parents know best about what their child likes and does not like. Many children go through a fussy eating phase where they are suddenly not eating foods they once loved. Let the preschool know what foods your kid gravitates toward and what they will refuse so they are aware. Both you and the school can take the opportunity to monitor their eating habits to determine if things are not aligning with their typical behaviors. 

Ask About Meal Costs or Included Meals in the Tuition

Parents often feel that the cost of paying for meals and snacks at Chicago preschools is worth the convenience. Delegating the task can free up a little time at night or in the morning for the parents, who can then use that time to handle other tasks, interact with loved ones, or relax by themselves.

For example, LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool in Chicago provides multiple snacks and meals (more commonly seen with those catering to children over 15 months). This is a great way to make mornings easier for parents — they have enough on their plate as it is!

Ask Which Foods Are Served and When 

Schools with excellent staff are well aware of nutritional guidelines for growing students and can provide healthy foods. The top Chicago preschools work hard to introduce new food colors and textures to their students. 

Preschools often have pre-planned menus available for parents; it could be in hard-copy print-outs or uploaded to their website. This gives parents a chance to review the options and ask any questions, potentially send their child in with a different meal and snack, and/or make special requests if necessary. 

Some preschools might offer the same menu every week, while others occasionally switch it up, such as on a weekly, monthly, or seasonal basis. Ask if the school has their menu endorsed by a leading organization, like from a professional certified by the American Board of Clinical Nutrition.

Let Your Child Know What To Expect

Let your child know about the new change of having meals and snacks at the Chicago preschool. This is particularly important if they are a new student and just started. 

Many parents teach their kids at a young age not to take food from strangers, so some children may initially refuse to eat there for that reason. Newly-enrolled students may also feel stressed which could make them slightly less hungry — chat with your family doctor if you suspect anything could be afoot. 

Having this conversation with your little one lets them know what to expect and tells them that it’s okay to eat the snacks and meals. A change in daily routine can be stressful for children. Going over new adjustments to schedules ahead of time can help reduce their anxiety and tantrums while also promoting self-regulation. 

Ask About Food Preparation

The meals and snacks may be prepared on the premises, or they might come from an off-site service. Knowing who makes the food and where can be particularly important for parents of children with dietary restrictions. Preschools typically have no problem providing this information, understanding that parents just want to look out for their kids at all times. 

Final Thoughts on Chicago Preschool Meal Options

Knowing that your child is eating healthy and delicious meals and snacks throughout the day can do wonders for giving parents some peace of mind. For more about healthy meals and happy kids, reach out to LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool in Chicago. They are proud to provide nutritious food to the little ones in their care. 

Just like the children’s families, LadyBug & Friends loves seeing kids happily eating fruits, vegetables, and other foods that can help them grow big and strong.Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool

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