healthy food for toddlers at Rayito

Rayito de Sol prioritizes the overall health and wellness of each child that attends our programs. We work diligently to incorporate activities, learning initiatives, and core concepts that provide the foundation for children to understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. As a part of these initiatives, we provide nutritious snack options at all our centers!

Luisa Fuentes, CEO of Rayito de Sol, advises that “the full-time children in our program spend most of their day in our facility. They are eating lunch and sustaining snacks in the morning and afternoon. Families depend upon our ability to ensure food is nourishing and that we are helping to establish a good foundation for current and future health and wellness. Children must have a balanced diet comprised of foods that meet dietary standards and guidelines. If that does not occur, their health has the potential to be negatively impacted in the future. I feel it is our centers’ responsibility to support Rayito families and children in all aspects of their lives in whatever ways that we can.”

The USDA recommends that young children eat a healthy morning and afternoon snack. Snacks should be flavorful and contain a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, wholesome grains, and *dairy. Rayito de Sol manages these needs by partnering with established companies that understand nutritional requirements and provide quality food services to young children, like our Rayito kids!

RAYITO DE SOL, CHICAGO: Rayito de Sol Chicago works with OrganicLife Smart Food Service. Their focus is providing school-aged children nutritious food made from quality ingredients that tastes great! Their Mission Statement says, “We steadfastly believe in: combining the highest quality ingredients with four-star culinary pedigrees; marrying the taste buds of children with the needs of their growing minds and bodies.”

OrganicLife uses the freshest ingredients, greens, and grains when preparing our lunches and snack items. Menu selections provide a wide variety of choices and are updated every month. Examples of snack items provided by OrganicLife include colorful seasonal fruits, pita chips and hummus, organic milk, homemade jams, and more!

RAYITO DE SOL, MINNESOTA: Rayito de Sol’s Minnesota locations partner with a food service provider called Lisa’s Catering. Lisa’s Catering is a local family-owned business founded in 1991. Providing nutritious and well-balanced snacks and meals following the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) standards is a primary focus for their organization. The CACFP bases its standards on recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

All of Lisa’s Catering snack options include a healthy balance of low-fat dairy, whole grains, and fruits that appeal to young children’s taste buds.

Supplying nutritious snacks partnered with wholesome food choices during snack and meal periods sets the foundation for children to develop healthy eating habits. They will enjoy eating fresh vegetables and fruits and avoiding sugary processed foods that may not provide the most nutrients and be best for their dietary needs.

Parents can encourage wholesome eating habits at home by presenting similar options and making snacks and mealtime fun and nutritious!

Nutritious Snack Tips for Parents at Home:

• VARIETY: Offer different healthy snack options to allow children to experience a variety of tastes, textures, flavors, and food choices. Mixing up snack options will help children become more adventurous when it comes to trying new things. #FUTUREFOODIE
• FUN SNACKS: Make snacks fun by creating shapes and funny faces with colorful fruits and veggies. Spiral fresh zucchini and squash for hair, use grapes for eyes, a halved cherry tomato for a nose, and an apple slice for a mouth. Prepare for the silly reactions as they enjoy!
• TRY ALTERNATIVES: Sunflower seed butter is an excellent option for children with peanut and other types of allergies, as most brands are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. Sunflower seed butter also has the same amount of protein, and more vitamin E, when compared to leading brands of peanut and tree nut spreads. Sunflower seed butter and other alternative spreads may have less fat, low sugar alternatives that still taste fantastic. You can pair these spreads with apple slices, carrots, whole grain crackers, and more!
• PORTION SIZES FOR SNACKS: Snacks should be smaller in portion size as they are not full meals. Calorie intake and food portions are key components for healthy eating. (See Meal Portions for Pre Schoolers link below)
• AVOID THE SUGAR IN BEVERAGES: Snacks should include a healthy beverage. Avoid drinks high in sugar, calories, and additives. Instead, lean towards options like regular water, naturally-sweetened water, low-fat milk, and plant-based milk.

Rayito de Sol will remain committed to partnering with our families and service providers to ensure that we continue providing nutritious snacks that help build healthy eating habits in the children who attend our centers.

Check out our monthly snack menus on our resources page!

Resources for Families:
Digital Nutrition Resources for Kids
USDA – ChooseMyPlate
• Meal Portions for Pre Schoolers
Nutrition for Kids – Mayo Clinic
* Special consideration must be taken for children with dietary restrictions, allergies, or food reactions.