Meals at day care
Basis for serving meals at day care
At day care, children are familiarised with wide range of different foods and are taught independent eating and good table manners. The meal served at the day care centre is an important part of a child’s daily nutrition, which is then supplemented with food served at home.
A vegan diet option has been offered to children and students in early childhood education and all educational institutes in Vantaa since the start of autumn term 2019. The vegan diet option has already been introduced in Vantaa day care centres, Martinlaakso school and Tikkurila General Upper Secondary School, and now the vegan option will become available to everyone following a vegan diet at home. A vegetarian option is also freely available to all every day in educational institutes and day care centres in Vantaa. If a child in day care follows a vegan diet, please report this by filling in the section ‘other diet’ in the form.
We plan our menus based on the national nutrition guidelines. Our day care centres use rotating six-week menus. When planning our menus, we pay attention to seasonal ingredients, national holidays and other celebrations. We ask the day care children their preferred foods at a regular basis and take the requests into account whenever possible. We also consider the results from our customer satisfaction surveys when planning the menus.
Breakfast mainly consists of porridge or bread. With bread, we always serve cold cuts and vegetables; and with porridge, we also serve vegetables. There is also always crispbread, spread and milk/buttermilk on offer. Breakfast is served between 7:30-8:30 on a daycare-center-specific basis.
Daycare centers’ lunches consist of meat, fish, chicken and vegetarian dishes. The daycare centers have a vegetarian food day once a week. A vegetarian dish will be served for lunch as an alternative every other day. Various themes—taking place throughout the operating year—bring change in the menu. A daycare-center lunch consists of.
- main course with accompaniments
- salads / grated foods as components, as well as salad dressing
- crispbread or soft bread and spread
- milk, buttermilk, and water
When the main course is soup, there is soft bread, cold cuts, and fruit. A soup lunch will also always include vegetables.
Children themselves, or under the guidance of daycare-center employees, take the food according to the food plate model, as much as they can eat. The children are entitled to second helpings, provided that they take both the accompaniments and the main course. Mealtimes are day-care-center-specific, but lunch mainly takes place between 10:30- 12:00
Snacks are versatile and varied, consisting of, for instance, different berry and fruit porridges, yogurt, curd, kissel, and bread. There is always crispbread, spread and milk/buttermilk on offer.
During the operating year, daycare centers will celebrate a few theme days that will manifest themselves in the menu as appropriate dishes and, potentially, as decorations.
The daycare-center kitchens prepare special food for children needing it. When applying to Early Childhood Education for a daycare-center place, guardians shall attach a special-diet form as appendix to the application documents in case of children needing special diets. If the need for a special diet is due to medical reasons, the guardians shall attach a valid medical certificate as appendix to the form. The medical certificate must be updated on a yearly basis, so that we can ascertain the correctness of the special diet and not unnecessarily restrict a daycare-center child’s diet.
- Lactose-free milk beverage is available for those who require it, but getting it requires a special-diet notification.
- Vegan diet shall be announced on the special-diet form.
Environmental liability and social inclusion related to meals
The starting point of daycare-center food is healthiness and taste. Children get to familiarize themselves with different kind of dishes as well as with Food Services’ activities with the help of various packages put together by the meal-services providers. There are six packages.
Meal-services providers will bring seasonspecific root vegetables, berries, fruits, or other vegetables to be tasted by groups of children or students.
Meal-services providers will organize an expert’s address on healthy and environmentally friendly food for children, staff members, and/or parents.
The children will be introduced to the kitchen's activities and everyday chores.
On the day chosen by the daycare center, the guardians will be offered a daycare center meal. The purpose is to dispel food-related beliefs among the guardians.
The children and the daycare-center employees will together prepare a food panel for the kitchen staff. The panel will address issues of interest to the children and together ponder on development possibilities.
A group of children, the daycare-center staff, and the kitchen staff will together make a joint campaign that must support the goals of the unit and the meal-services provider.
The Carbon Deal
The Carbon Deal mark will be found in the daycare centers’ food lines. The Carbon Deal mark signifies the main course's streamlined carbon footprint, which is 30% smaller than that of an average dish. The Carbon Deal mark aims to encourage everybody to think about the environmental impacts of eating and to make such meal choices that enhance the globe's environmental carrying capacity.
At the beginning of 2022, we will adopt a new participation channel through the Committed Vantaa online service. The online service will have myriad surveys, and the children and daycare-center employees can submit their ideas and thoughts about the menus, as well as about developing the meals at daycare centers.
We will account for the feedback we receive, when developing daycare-center meals. We kindly ask you to primarily give your feedback directly to a kitchen representative. When required, you can also give your feedback in writing on the city's website!
Wishing you a good and tasty operating year!
City of Vantaa