Child care setting menus plan for the provision of nutritious meals and snacks necessary for the optimum health and growth of the young children in their care. Creative and appealing menus can also contribute towards the acceptance of a variety of new foods and lifelong healthy eating habits.

Menus must also balance the needs and wants of the children in their care; the expectations of the parents; the limitations of the setting space, time and budgets; and the complex details of government regulations and policies.

Please note that the tools/resources found on this site are intended to support but not to replace the licensing  requirements specified by the NS Day Care Act and the NS Manual for Food and Nutrition in Regulated Child Care Settings.

For more information about this project please contact us at




Menu Model 062011

A printer-friendly version of this model is also available.

This Model represents a consolidation of the main factors that must be considered in planning menu for a child care centre.

The Food and Nutrition Standards are based on Canada’s Food Guide and the current regulations and guidelinesdefined in the NS Day Care Act.  We have interpreted these in the Child Food Group Servings and Best Practices resource.

Creativity and Aesthetics are good menu planning practices and are drawn from foodservice texts and resources. While a good visual review of your menu is the best way to assess creativity and aesthetics, the Child Care Centre Sample Menu Template can guide you in planning a menu that has both variety with consistency. The Template also can guide you in planning for approximately 50% of food guide servings for a young child.

Child and Centre Considerations have been drawn from child nutrition research, foodservice texts and valuble input from the Menu Project questionniare and Collaboration Group.

Evaluating your menu prior to use is an excellent way to ensure it meets standards, is creative and appealing, and considers the particular needs of the children in your care and of your centre.

Use our Child Care Centre Menu Plan Evaluation Form, based on this Model, to guide you in this process.

Based on the Child Care Centre Menu Plan Model, and adapted from the input of our Collaboration Group, we have prepared a series of  sample menus. These sample menus are intended to provide you with examples and explanations of how the food and nutrition standards, creativity and aesthetics, and child and centre considerations may be incorporated.

They are not intended to serve as your particular menus as they would have to be adapted to your particular needs.

Sample Menu 1

Sample Menu 2

Create your own menu by saving a copy of our Menu Template to your computer.

These recipes, adapted from the 1992 Day Care Menu Planning Manual, have costs and food group servings calculated. Please note that to enable these calculations, the amounts of ingredients used in the recipes are in metric measures (g, kg, ml or l).

We hope to build on this list over time. If you have a recipe you would like to add, please download and fill out the Recipe Template.

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See Calculating Food Group Servings from Recipes PDF for an example on how to do this calculation.


Autumn Stew



Chicken Loaf Supreme

Chunky Chicken Casserole


Simple Salmon Loaf

Meat Alternates

Black Bean Burrito

Lentil Burgers

Lentil Loaf

Vegetarian Pasta Bake

Soups & Chowders

Tasty Tomato Soup

Tuna Corn Chowder

Baked Goods & Snacks

Banana Muffins

Curried Carrot Dip

Fruit Crumble

Zucchini Muffins