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Vegan Toddler in 2022

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  • Vegan Toddler in 2022

    I'm not on the CACFP program, but my meal plan is based on it and I don't want to deviate from it so far that I couldn't easily get on the program soon. As I understand it, some new changes may be coming down the pipeline, but as of right now, there are very few options that would make for a vegan meal and the CACFP does not recognize veganism as a valid reason to deviate from their dairy and meat requirements, correct? Soy milk is the only one-to-one substitution. It looks like, other than that, for a peanut- and tree nut- free facility, there's nothing but beans and lentils. And I'm not serving beans and lentils five days a week.

    D. Substitutions
    Providers may make food substitutions when one allowable food item from the planned menu is replaced by another food from the same food component category. For example, cottage cheese may replace hamburger or peaches replace citrus sections. These substitutions are permitted to meet a child's food preferences, food allergies, or other health concerns, or when a menu item is not available. Substitutions must be documented on menus when the provider decides to make the substitution [7 CFR §226.20(h)].

    Providers are required to make substitutions to the meal patterns for children whose disability restricts their diet; they may make substitutions for other participants who are not disabled but are unable to eat regular meals because of medical or other special dietary needs. Only a licensed physician, or recognized medical authority, can determine whether or not a participant has a disability that restricts a child’s diet. A licensed medical professional is someone who is recognized by the State licensing board where the provider lives and has the authority to issue medical orders.
    A medical statement is required for all substitutions, except milk, and has to describe:
    • the child’s disability,
    • how the disability limits the child’s diet,
    • the food(s) the child may not have, and;
    • the food(s) that must be substituted.
    Monitors must make sure providers understand the difference between food intolerance and a medical disability. Providers may make substitutions (except for milk) because of intolerance or preference (see below for exceptions regarding milk substitutions).

    Providers must make substitutions because of a disability. Food intolerance is when there is a reaction to a food, such as a stomachache. A medical professional might recommend that the food is avoided, but does not order that the child cannot have it. A disability is condition where a medical professional finds that an impairment limits a life activity (such as breathing) to the extent that the food should not be eaten at all by the child, and orders it by addressing the above points.

    Parents or guardians may ask for non-dairy milk substitutions without providing a medical statement. For example, if a parent has a child who follows a vegan diet, the parent can submit a written request to the child’s caretaker asking that soy milk be served in lieu of cow’s milk. The written request must identify the medical or other special dietary need that restricts the diet of the child.

    I just got a notification this morning that one of my families is moving, and the next kid on the waitlist is vegan and this is my second request for vegan meals in a year. I'm starting to feel like the ability to adapt to a vegan menu may be a bonus for my marketability in the circles where my daycare is spreading by word of mouth.

  • #2
    Ugh. I have a terrible experience with a family that changed their toddler to vegan. To each their own. But they need lots of beans and several different types of beans to meet their amino acid requirements. And they have to actually eat them. Not skip out on the beans. I made the family provide all of their own food. And it wasn’t enough, child was still hungry and throwing fits at the table. So I made them bring me more food. Child still ended up malnourished and losing hair. Diarrhea constantly. I was with the child for a year before the vegan switch so I got to see the before and after very clearly. I told them not to come back after my maternity leave. I’ll never deal with another vegan family again. Unless they are very knowledgeable about what they are doing and provide all of their food.

    I don’t know that I’d change my menu to accommodate until I work with a professional about which foods I need to provide to make sure the child’s diet is complete. I wouldn’t want that liability on me because their health can go down so fast with this.

    I also talked To a few other vegan families to get their opinion. 2 of the 3 had their toddlers eat meat for this reason. It was easier to have them eat a full menu to get all their nutrients in.
    But it’s possible. Just I have no interest in being a part of it.