There are many food allergies that require a child to follow a special diet with a doctor’s note. I know from personal experience what happens when these doctor’s orders are not followed. These diet plans get special attention and as they should but what about the children that don’t have an allergy but are sensitive to certain food?
What is Working Mom to do if you want your child to eat healthy?
What if you don’t want your child to eat food with high fructose corn syrup, special dies, salt or gluten? You don’t have a medical note that someone has to follow, but you know your child and you know what happens when they eat foods with these ingredients. When you child comes home extremely hyper or cranky you know birthday cupcakes were served.
So what is a non-allergy family to do in order to control their diet while at daycare?
Here are 4 ways to provide direction to your daycare about your child's dietary needs.
#1 – Create a food plan.
Write down the ingredients you do not want your child to eat. Then list why you do not want your child to eat them. Does their behavior change, do they break out into a rash, suffer from stomach pain or is this a diet that you follow at home so you want to keep things consistent? A food plan helps get you focused on your child’s dietary needs. Regardless of who watches your child, either daycare, a babysitter, or a family member, you can hand over a food plan.
Here’s an example of a food plan:
To Whom It May Concern,
Below is a list of food that I need my child to avoid eating. The ingredients are listed with examples of food they should not eat, and the result if my child does eat this kind of ingredient.
Ingredients to avoid: high fructose corn syrup
Types of food: cookies, cupcakes, cake, fruit containers.
Result if food is eaten: They will become extremely hyper and then for the rest of the night they are extremely irritable and sad.
If there is going to be a birthday celebrated please use a frozen treat that I’ll provide. If these dietary needs cannot be met I will provide my child’s snacks and meals and would like discuss a discount in my child’s tuition.
# 2 Schedule a sit down meeting with your daycare.
This is an important conversation that needs more than a quick conversation during drop off or pick up. Sit and meet with your daycare provider after you have given them the letter. Things are always better resolved in a face-to-face meeting. See if you can come to an agreement and answer any questions. Although you making snacks and meals would be more work for you if this is a priority to you (as you see the bad results of them eating poorly) you’ll make it happen
#3 – Find alternative ways to celebrate birthdays.
While you meet with your daycare provider discuss other ways birthdays can be celebrated. I bet they do not enjoy ten hyper children after a birthday treat. Suggest that instead of eating sugar make the birthday child feel special throughout the day with special birthday privileges like being the teacher for a bit, being the line leader, read their favorite story or do their favorite activity a bit longer on their special day.
#4 – Find a daycare that will follow your diet plan.
Your diet plan will arm you with the information needed to find a daycare that will be in sync with your needs. Finding a daycare where your child won’t be treated as special because of the healthy diet you want them to eat will make your child feel more comfortable, and you, too.