Homestar and Nutrition

At Homestar, we recognize the huge role that a healthy relationship to food can play in a person's life as they progress from infant to adult. Food is the chemical foundation for life long health, and nutrition and positive eating habits support a child's mental, physical, social, and emotional development. To help the children achieve this goal, Homestar focuses on providing organic, homemade whole foods that are suitable for each child, serving the foods in a welcoming and peaceful setting, sharing with the children in rituals expressing gratitude, and as they grow, teaching them about gardening, cooking, food sources, their bodies, and what happens to the food after it is swallowed.

Walking into Homestar, the first thing you will notice is the smell of bread in the oven or stew on the stove. Each meal at Homestar is prepared in the school by a full-time cook who manages the purchasing, storage, and preparation of all foods.  Too frequently, meals at day cares and schools consist of an assortment of cans and frozen items; rarely is time made for the creation of a real home-cooked meal. But a Homestar meal consists of organic produce, organic whole grains, age appropriate spices and herbs, time and love; it is never a pre-made frozen food or meal-in-a-can. A child grows quickly...  the building blocks of their bodies should be as pure and strong as possible. Only organic fresh food provides that raw material for their growth that they deserve. For that reason, Homestar invests a tremendous amount of time and energy to ensure that high-quality foods are always provided. To see what types of food are offered, please see the sample menu below.

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Special Dietary Needs

Though Homestar seeks to make each meal as nutritious and tasty as possible, no single type of diet is appropriate for all children. We understand that some children have sensitivities to certain foods, that some families choose to be vegetarian or vegan, or that some foods are not appropriate until later in that child's development. We do our best to accommodate families by making individually-tailored, diet-appropriate meals when possible. Even for children who have no special dietary needs, we encourage open lines of communication with parents about each child's eating habits and responses to the new foods they encounter as they grow.  Homestar seeks to help children eat the healthiest foods possible while remaining aware that each child is an individual with unique needs.

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Mealtime Rituals

Too often in the rushed pace of life that many of us endure today, meals are shoved between meetings or errands. Yet even for those who have nearly forgotten what a sit-down meal feels like, there is still a sense that peaceful time spent around the dinner table is of  great value. To ensure that children develop a positive relationship to food and the act of eating, we maintain a ritual around meal-time that helps to foster an appreciation for the complete activity of feeding oneself. Children sit around the table and settle themselves into the quiet space there. They hold hands and sing a song giving thanks for the food provided to us from the earth. Older children learn to serve each other during meal-time and to wait until everyone has their meal; the younger ones learn patience while everyone is served food in turn. While eating, the class learns to enjoy spending time at the table much as a family would; enjoying each other's company, talking, and taking some time to be together for the communal experience of eating. When they are finished eating, the children bring their bowls to be cleaned and maintain the quiet atmosphere. This approach to meal time helps the children learn to be more present in the entire experience of eating, from the taste and texture to the pleasant atmosphere of a meal table with its conversation and quieting effects.  

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Nutrition Education

The final part of Homestar's nutritional focus is on educating the children about the food that sustains them. In an age where many people think that meat comes from a supermarket and that vegetables can be found in infinite supply on your grocer's shelf, it is of great importance to make children aware of the beautiful and complex web that makes every morsel of food possible. 

Only with knowledge of the bee that pollinates, the ladybug that protects, the farmer that tills and the sun that does almost everything else can children develop a true appreciation and thankfulness for the foods that are provided to them. Part of the education process is participation in the garden project where children and teachers learn about planting, weeding, harvesting and composting. Getting their hands dirty is so much fun, the children are almost oblivious to the invaluable knowledge they are gaining. But the fun and experience of planting, harvesting, and eating strawberries, pumpkins, and tomatoes is something they don't forget.

The other half of nutritional education is what the food does for them. The children engage in projects where they can show that carrots help eyes, milk helps bones, eggs help the brain, and peanut butter....  well, they don't care what that does, they just love that stuff. Being empowered with the knowledge of where food comes from and what it does inoculates the children from the pressure of society to take food and many other things for granted. In addition to the value of gratefulness, if a child can appreciate the energy and health that a carrot can provide for him or her, later in life they are more likely to be able to understand how overly-fattening or sugary foods can harm them. 

Knowledge is the best tool in helping children to develop good eating habits from an early age. This knowledge can come from many sources...  from the experience of gardening, from reading books about food and nutrition, and from songs or games.  However, the most effective knowledge is provided by the daily reinforcement of Homestar's nutritional ideals through the organic whole foods provided in a suitable setting. 

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Sample Weekly Menu

  Breakfast   Lunch   Snack  
  Hot oatmeal cereal with raisins, nuts, bananas   Turkey dogs with potatoes and steamed carrots   PB & J crackers with apple slices  
  Berry Yogurt with Raisins, nuts or seeds and toast   Tuna sandwiches with cucumbers & peas   Bean dip and chips  
  Green eggs & toast (Spinach)   Lentil stew with rice, potatoes, carrots, & cheese   Cornbread and fruit slices  
  Sesame kasha with potato, broccoli, grated carrots & cheese   PB & J sandwiches with apple slices   Baked tofu with corn, peas  
  Hot cornmeal cereal with raisins, nuts, seeds, dried apricots   Spanish rice with vegies, tofu, and cheese   Oranges & toast  

Typically our menu is adapted for age appropriate servings and ingredients. Our hot cereals are cooked with powdered milk and honey added at the end, or left out for dietary restrictions due to age or parental directions. We grind nuts and seeds for certain meals which provide added protein. These are served age-appropriately (over 18 months) and with parents' permission. We provide dairy and meat alternatives for those children with dietary restrictions.

We get children to eat vegetables more often by cooking and blending them in our sauces, such as our spaghetti sauce or in one of our frequent menu items: potato cauliflower stew with cheese.

Our policy it to provide whole foods, without processed sugar, white flour or preservatives. Each meal is served with milk. There is a mid-morning milk or juice break at 10:00.

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  HOMESTAR Child Development Center303-499-8181 • 3280 Dartmouth Ave • Boulder, CO 80305 •