Mealtime Memo – June 2021

June 2021 Mealtime Memo

This month’s theme is Celebrate Summer!

Yes, June is here! We are in our early summer stride. Now is the perfect time to have your children catch the spark of fantastic summer times. It truly is a wonderful opportunity to freshen up your menus with all the summer season has to offer.

Look for ways you can serve up the season to support your children’s growth, development, and natural curiosity. How could your food offerings nourish children and incorporate the summer vibe? Can you change up a menu favorite or an activity to give it some summer flair? Making smoothies on a stick, watching your garden grow, or even running through the sprinkler are all options!

By following the most current meal patterns and regulations, you are giving the children in your care the absolute best on their plate. Nutrition and movement are part of helping each child meet their full potential. Studies show that outside play and good nutrition are influencers in children’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual wellness now and in the future. Let’s eat and play outside together.

June Food Themes

According to the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, only 61% of children ages 2 through 4 eat the daily recommended 1–1.5 cups of both fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw, cooked, frozen, canned, or dried. Consider offering a colorful assortment of bite-sized fruits and vegetables to entice your children. Children “eat” with their eyes first. Let’s make their plates look yummy!

June is National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month. What could be more fitting than raising awareness and increasing offerings of fruits and vegetables throughout the month? Think about ways to introduce the children in your care to at least one new fruit and vegetable. Invite a local farmer or Farmer’s market operator to share a sampling of the crop-of-the-week with your children. Children can learn about the harvest and expand their knowledge and taste buds.

National Egg Day – June 3

Consider introducing children to eggs from other animals. Duck, goose, gull, pheasant, quail, and turkey eggs are all popular to eat worldwide. They have a slightly different taste than a chicken egg. Did you know that a single emu egg is nutritionally equal to about 12 chicken eggs, while an ostrich egg is equal to about 24 chicken eggs? Did you know that duck eggs are considered better for baking than chicken eggs? Duck eggs create a fluffier, lighter batter that also rises higher. They contain more fatty acids and proteins, which are beneficial when baking.

Research birds and eggs in nature by taking a virtual zoo tour or compare egg sizes from birds that are native to your area.

National Cheese Day – June 4

National Cheese Day is a perfect way to start the summer with nutrient-rich dairy foods. Dairy products such as milk and cheese contain nine essential nutrients, from calcium to potassium. Dairy products can help control weight, reduce high blood pressure, and lower the risk of osteoporosis and some cancers. With protein to help develop and rebuild muscle tissue and vitamin A to preserve healthy skin, dairy products are a natural powerhouse of nutrients for everyone. Let’s celebrate dairy products with these health benefits, including cheese, all year long.

Ask children about their favorite cheese. Do they like it as a slice, melted, or as a cheese stick? Have children come up with as many different cheeses that they can name. You can use ICN’s Food Varieties Galore resource to add to their list.

Cheese is made from pressed curds. The milk can come from cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. Temperature, aging, and spices and other seasonings added during the process affect the flavor and texture of the cheese.

National Corn on the Cob Day – June 11

Who doesn’t love to eat corn on the cob? Boiled, steamed, roasted, or grilled, there’s no wrong way as long as it stays on that cob. It’s the perfect hand-held food loaded with lots of nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and iron to aid in digestion and overall health.

You could plan a field trip to a local cornfield if available and accessible. If you plan on picking the corn yourself, there’s a trick to spot when the corn is ready. When the kernels are still soft, this is nature’s way of saying, “Come and get it!”

Just because National Corn on the Cob Day is June 11 doesn’t mean that it can’t be on your menu throughout the summer!

Explore different seasoning options for corn on the cob. Get creative with other spices and offer a variety such as Cajun or Italian corn on the cob.

  • Cajun: garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, paprika, and oregano
  • Italian: parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, coriander, sage, or thyme

Learn more about corn in the classroom. Corn seed can grow kernels to be yellow, purple, green, blue-gray, red, white, black, and even multi-colored. The word maize, or maiz, has Native American/Spanish language origins. Most corn cobs have an average of 800 kernels and typically have16 rows around the cob. See what other corn facts you and your children can find.

National Eat All Your Veggies Day – June 17

Eat them while they’re ripe. This day is a little past the halfway point of National Fruit and Vegetable Month. It’s a great day to recommit to offering a wide variety of vegetables. Vegetables provide various essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber—while remaining naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium. They also lower your risk of developing certain chronic diseases, and they are delicious too! Challenge your children to select vegetable offerings to cover at least half of their plate.

National Smoothie Day – June 21

Children love smoothies, and they are a great way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Try USDA’s Mango Smoothie Bowl for a simple, nutritious summertime treat. You can take it up a notch by putting out a select assortment of fruits and vegetables and letting the children decide what they want in their smoothie. Limit the selection and guide children to what fruits and vegetables blend and taste well together. Let them sample new recipes.

Children can vote for their favorite smoothie by raising hands or placing a sticker on a paper with the designated smoothie name or symbol. Ask them if they would like the favorite smoothie to be part of their summer menu. Smoothies are a great way to introduce new foods to children’s diets. Voting for their favorite smoothie will add a lot of excitement and encourage more fruit and vegetable consumption.

Get Recipes on the Child Nutrition Recipe Box

What’s in Season in June?

June is “hello summer” month, which means warmer temperatures, brighter skies, and colorful gardens! As the seasons change, so does the availability of fresh produce. June brings a heavy harvest of apricots, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, corn, kiwi, lettuces, mangoes, peaches, strawberries, Swiss chard, watermelons, and zucchini. Notice the growing assortment of local fresh fruits and vegetables from the beginning of June until the end of June. Use ICN’s Child Nutrition Recipe Box for fruit and vegetable menu ideas for the June harvest to radishes and other vegetables with USDA MyPlate’s Crunchy Vegetable Wraps. This recipe is highly customizable, so let your sense of adventure run wild!

Food Facts for Kids

  • Roughly 72% of the calcium in the U.S. food supply comes from dairy products.
  • It takes 10 lbs of milk to make 1 lb of cheese.
  • Eggshells do not affect the flavor or nutritional value of the egg. It is simply indicative of the breed of bird.
  • Hens only need 24 hours to develop an egg.
  • Hens will eat eggs if they are not collected promptly.

Sneak Peak

In July, we will share garden harvest tips. Theme days highlighted will include:

  • National Watermelon Month
  • Freezer Pop Day – July 8
  • National Ice Cream Day – July 18
  • National Avocado Day – July 31

References

Institute of Child Nutrition. Child Nutrition Recipe Box (2021). Mango Smoothie Bowl – USDA Recipe for Child Care Centers.
https://theicn.org/cnrb/recipes-for-centers/recipes-for-centers-breakfast/mango-smoothie-bowl-usda-recipe-for-child-care-centers/

International Dairy Foods Association. (2021). Dairy Nourishes.https://www.idfa.org/

International Egg Commission. (2021). World Health Day. https://www.internationalegg.com/

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2020, December). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2020 – 2025: Make every bite count with the dietary guidelines.
https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2020, December). The dietary guidelines for Americans can help you eat healthy to be healthy.
https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Infographic_Eat_Healthy_Be_Healthy.pdf

U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPlate. (2021). MyPlate kitchen.
https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen

About Mealtime Memo

Mealtime Memo (MTM) is focused on nutrition and wellness in child care settings and is specifically intended for use by child care professionals who participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The objective is to provide research-based best practices for planning, preparing, and/or serving nutritious, safe, and child-friendly meals in child care settings operating the CACFP.

Beginning in January 2021, the MTM moved to an electronic, blog-style newsletter. To ensure you automatically receive the latest issue, click here to subscribe!

Please note: To ensure MTMs provide the most accurate, up-to-date information, any references to Federal regulations, nutritional standards, and other best practices are considered current at the time of publication. Please be advised that this information is NOT updated to reflect any changes/revisions beyond the publication date. In addition, all MTMs published prior to 2017 have been archived are no longer available on our website. If you need access to an archived MTM or for questions on the latest regulations and standards, please contact ICN’s Help Desk at helpdesk@theicn.org or 1-800-321-3054.

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2021-07-08T11:10:23-05:00June 10th, 2021|

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