Oregon Department of Education
Nutrition Menu  

Shopping/Menu Planning

Perceived Problem: Fruits and vegetables cost too much
Fruits and vegetables are actually good buys, if you consider that they are nutrient-dense, containing many of the vitamins and minerals we need more of--for example, vitamins A and C. This comparison chart shows that fruits are really a good buy compared to some other less healthy snack foods.

FDA Consumer, 1/03

Example Directory

Ways to reduce the costs of fruits and vegetables

  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Not only will they be cheaper but they also will be at their flavor and nutritional peaks.
  • Clip coupons for money off on your favorite canned and frozen fruits and vegetables and juices.
  • Watch local grocery advertisements for reduced prices on your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  • Compare prices of different brands of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables and juices and buy the cheapest.

FDA Consumer, 1/03

Fresh fruits and vegetables may spoil quickly

  • If you shop once a week or less often, buy both fresh and processed--that is, canned or frozen--fruits and vegetables, and juices. Use the fresh first; save the processed items for use later.
  • Buy both ripe and not-so-ripe fresh fruits and vegetables--for example, yellow and green bananas--so that the not-so-ripe items will last a few days longer and be ready for eating after you've finished the ripe ones.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables where you can see them often--on the top shelf of the refrigerator, or, for fruits that don't need refrigeration (such as bananas and apples), on the table or counter or another easy-to-spot-place. The more often you see the fruits and vegetables, the more likely you may be to eat them.

FDA Consumer, 1/03

Stretching the Food Dollar

Making the best use of your food dollars is a constant challenge, but resourceful child care providers can find many ways to "stretch the food dollar". Important tips for cost-effective shopping include:

  • Know your budget
  • Plan the menu carefully
  • Use creditable recipes to stretch food dollars
  • Make a shopping list based on your planned menu
  • Study grocery ads
  • Check unit pricing at the store to compare costs
  • Look for coupons for items on your menu

Remember: The menu should always determine the shopping list and the shopping list should always determine what goes home with you from the grocery store!

Adapted from NFSMI Mealtime Memo For Child Care

Successful menu planning for toddler meals

When planning meals, consider the flavor of the foods. Young children usually dislike strong flavors; toddlers do not want their foods to be too hot or too cold. When introducing new foods, do so with old favorites. Start out slowly and give the child some control by offering choices. For example, ask which vegetable they would like for lunch - either carrots or green peas.

Adapted from NFSMI Mealtime Memo For Child Care

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