Hi everyone! I'm curious how each center handles snack. Could you please help me by sharing your snack procedures?
Do you provide snacks or do parents bring them each day?
If you provide snacks, do you have a staff person specifically for snack shopping, prep, and delivery to rooms?
If you provide snacks, do you charge a snack fee or just build it into tuition?
Do you have any amazing creative snack procedures to share? =) Do you have any products that you LOVE for family style snack?
Hi Tiffani! We provide snack each morning and charge a snack fee ($10-22 per month depending on how many days a week your child is registered). It used to be a part of tuition, but in an effort to track spending better, we made it a separate line item. I shop monthly at Costco, then each week at the grocery store for fresh things like fruits and veggies. We have the EMPOWER grant from AZ, so we have to do some specific things to make that work.
Snack is served family style at their classroom tables, with bowls or plates, and spoons or forks that children use to grab their portion. Each day's snack has at least a carb, dairy, veggie/fruit, or protein. I have a monthly snack schedule that we try our best to follow, that then I rotate in different things to try each month. We are lucky and don't have a ton of allergy issues right now, so we only need to accommodate a little bit, and it's not difficult to avoid strawberries and pickles. :) Next year will be a little tricky as we have a student enrolling with celiac, so her parents will be asked to bring her snack every day and I'll waive their snack fee. That helps me not have to worry about cross-contamination and they can better control what their daughter has for snack. Airborne isn't an issue with us at all right now.
I hope that helps! Here's my March snack calendar.
We used to provide the snacks and I'd send out a list of needed donations. I would inform parents that they should expect to be asked for specific items 2-3 times a year. The snacks we unified through all 3 classes so parents purchased a bulk quantity. I created the snack menu. It wasn't easy- parents forgot, got wrong items tr not enough. someone had allergies. We switched to parents bringing their own snack items for morning and afternoon snacks depending on their chosen schedule as well as their lunch as needed. We also send all food related trash home with the kids each day as San Diego requires trash separation. We don't have room for more cans to separate in the classrooms. Families providing all food is the best! It alleviates allergy issues, food preferences, quantity, etc. They pack snacks separate from lunch. we recommend reusable containers. A company called Mabels Labels can do a fundraiser to get parents to have all items marked with names! Maybe a local Tupperwear rep can do one for containers? Good luck in your decision!
For years I had a snack coordinator but with so many special diets and allergies we switched to having parents bring a snack. We actually provide all new students a Planet Box "Shuttle" as part of their registration fee and everyone brings their own snack it in. I buy them in bulk to receive a small discount (very small in my opinion!) but overall we still save money by not paying a salary and snack food. I also purchased a cooler on wheels for each class that the snacks go inside. When it's warm I add ice blocks inside and the snack boxes stay cold! Parents place the snack boxes inside the coolers at drop off so no more searching through backpacks! All of the snack boxes are the same size so they stack very nicely on top of each other and they are easy for the kids to carry and open. Parents get creative on how to label their child's box. It does come with magnets and there are many to choose from. I buy about 5 of each style. Stickers work, as well as good ole' masking tape label or sharpie. The teachers can easily wheel their snack cooler from the classroom to the outdoor snack tables. We also put a basket on the shelf underneath for when the children are playing and get warm they put their jackets, headbands, and other misc. stuff in the basket. Parents are trained to retrieve the snack box and check the basket at pickup time! My daughter is in 8th grade and still uses a planet box! It is also good for the environment as it's plastic free and saves a lot of trash as parents buy less individually packaged items. If the kids don't finish what they eat we just leave it in the box and I often see kids eating it as an after-school snack as they are leaving. Overall, I LOVE our new snack routine and my teachers, parents, and kids all seem to enjoy the snack boxes!
Our snack box: https://www.planetbox.com/collections/lunchboxes/products/planetbox-shuttle-lunchbox
Cooler link: So happy with this purchase and highly recommend. We have 5 total and after years of use, they still look almost new!!! https://a.co/6yUqOPc
Ice Blocks Link: 3 fit perfectly across the bottom of the above cooler! https://a.co/3SWkwSY