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September 2021: Nutrition

Updated: Apr 13

September Spotlight:

Child Lane's Nutrition Program

Child Lane’s Nutrition Program provides meals and snacks to all five of our child care centers and over 600 contracted family child care homes, totaling over 21,000 meals per day. In addition to ensuring that children are fed, the Nutrition Program makes sure that the meals the children receive contributes to their health, wellness, and growth.

Child Lane’s Nutrition Program is a state and federally funded Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) designed to provide nutritious meals and snacks to children. Through the Nutrition Program, Child Lane’s contracted providers are reimbursed for the meals and snacks they serve every day. Child Lane also provides technical assistance and support to family child care homes to ensure the meals follow the meal pattern set out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In addition to partnering with child care home providers, the Nutrition Program also schedules breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack for all the children in Child Lane’s centers. Menus for centers are seasonal and repeat every five weeks to give children the chance to see foods multiple times. Normally, food is served “family-style,” where children are able to serve themselves and eat with their teacher. Children are encouraged to try two bites of new foods and to listen to their bodies when it comes to portion size.

As we enter September, children at Child Lane’s centers can look forward to seasonal soups every Wednesday. Below is a quick snack recipe that children will be trying in the centers as we enter into fall.

White Bean Ranch Dip

Yield: 8- 1/2 ounce servings

Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Ingredients:

Canned Great Northern Beans 1- 14 oz. Olive oil 2 tablespoons Dry Ranch Dressing Mix 1 packet (1 oz.) Water As needed Directions: 1. Drain and rinse canned beans, place them in the food processor. 2. Add ranch dressing mix and olive oil. Blend until smooth and creamy. 3. Add water until dip reaches desired creamy texture. Diet Information ½ cup serving is equivalent to ½ cup of vegetables or ¼ cup serving is equivalent to 1 oz of meat alternative.

Global View

Healthy Eating as a Family

From the ages 0 to 5, a child’s food intake or preferences may vary greatly. A great way to help your child develop healthy eating habits is by being a good role model. Talk to your child about the food your family eats and try new foods with them! Below are some tips that may help with promoting healthy eating habits for yourself and your child.

  • Start with a small serving and get more if still hungry.

  • Sometimes, we think we’re hungrier than we actually are. To help with portion control, start with a smaller serving and get more if you’re still hungry after.

  • Choose healthy snacks during the day. Suggestions include:

  • Fresh or dried fruit;

  • Crackers with cheese;

  • Vegetable sticks and dip – remember that for children under 3, vegetables should be steamed or grated to reduce choking hazards.

  • Have fun!

  • Encourage your child to help in the kitchen. Teach them about washing their hands before touching food, and help them complete easy tasks like washing fruits and vegetables or stirring. This not only exposes them to new foods, but may get them excited to eat the meals they help prepare.


Child Lane centers will be closed on the following days:

Monday Sept. 5th in observance of Labor Day


Highlight of the Month

CA Joint Powers Insurance Authority

Our friends at California Joint Powers Insurance Authority generously donated detergent, soap, facial tissues, band aids, and toilet paper on July 30. Child Lane’s Executive Director, Dora Jacildo, had the pleasure of showing them around the James Benedict Child Care Center. Community support helps Child Lane do our work every day and provide an environment where children can safely play and grow. Thanks again to CA JPIA for their thoughtfulness and partnership!

Message from the Counselor

Healthy Eating Habits with Your Infant or Toddler

When it comes to eating, getting your kids to try new foods and eat healthy meals can be tricky. I know for myself, I was a very picky eater as a child and although my parent’s just wanted to make sure I was eating well, I ended up challenging them at every meal. Most meals ended up with me staring at my plate and my mom feeling helpless at trying to get me to eat. Forcing a child to eat isn’t the best option either and can later develop into bad eating habits. So, what’s a family to do? Infants and toddlers are naturally curious, so let’s go along with where they are at developmentally to explore their food. For instance, if your child is struggling to try new foods, ask them if they can lick it! It may seem silly, but even licking a new food is a way to introduce the taste. Another thing to remember is that you may have to introduce a new food more than 10 times before a child will eat it. Here are some other strategies to try.

Habits to Start

  • Offer three to four healthy choices at mealtimes.

  • Make sure that at least one of the choices is something the child likes to eat.

  • Provide two to three healthy snacks per day.

  • If children don’t eat a lot at a meal, they will have a healthy option for a snack.

  • Let children take a “dip.”

  • Children like to play with their food. Healthy dips, such as low-fat salad dressing, ketchup, salsa, yogurt, or hummus, make eating fun. Children can dip vegetables, fruits, and even meat!

  • Offer a new food an “old” way.

  • If you want children to try something new—like fish—offer it to them the first time with breading on it so it looks like something familiar (such as chicken nuggets).

  • Be silly.

  • Make a face out of vegetable slices (cucumber slices for eyes, shredded carrots for hair, a cherry tomato nose, a red pepper slice for a smile). Or make “sweet surprise stew” where you hide fruit at the bottom of a cup of yogurt. When children are having fun, they are more willing to try something new.

Habits to Avoid

  • Forcing children to eat.

  • The truth is that forcing children to eat usually leads to the child eating less. Forcing also teaches children to rely on others to tell them how much to eat and what they are feeling. This does not lead to healthy eating habits.

  • When it comes to eating, you and the child each have your own jobs to do. Your job is to provide each child with healthy food choices and pleasant meal and snack times. It is the child’s job to decide which of these healthy foods to eat and how much to eat. This approach helps children learn to listen to their bodies and to make healthy food choices.

  • Nagging or making deals with children.

  • “Just two more bites, just two more bites!” “If you eat your vegetables, you will get dessert.” Strategies like these don’t work in the long run. Children who learn to make deals about eating quickly learn to make deals and ask for rewards for doing other things—like cleaning up. Soon they won’t do anything unless there is a reward for it.

  • Eating with the television on.

  • It is true that children will often eat more when they are placed in front of a television for mealtime. However, this is because they are paying so much attention to what is on television, they are not paying attention to whether they are hungry or full. One of the most important healthy eating habits for children to learn is to pay attention to their body’s cues and eat only until they are full. Also, mealtimes are important opportunities to talk and connect with children. There is no chance to bond this way if everyone is watching television.

Helpful Links

LA County Library

LA County Library has gone fine free! As of August 10, all outstanding charges have been waived and there will no longer be late fees. The library offers free access to books, movies, and music. Additionally, individuals currently in school or looking for work can check out laptops for up to three weeks. Go to to learn more about what the library can offer you!

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