Nutrition program

Nutrition is a major factor in the physical, social, mental, and emotional development of children. At the University of Minnesota Child Development Laboratory School (CDLS), we work with children to establish healthy eating habits and an understanding of social habits around eating.

Food served at CDLS provides a healthy, nutritious boost for children’s growing bodies. We believe that young children are capable of making healthy food choices if they are exposed to a wide variety of nutritious and delicious foods.

Our goal is to have a positive influence in broadening children’s food experiences while being conscious of young children’s tastes, appetites, chokable food restrictions, and socialization of eating together. 

At meal times, we place a teacher at each table and serve meals family style. This helps children practice table manners and offers an opportunity to practice motor skills and social conversation. 

We also integrate nutrition education into our curriculum through cooking projects.


Example full-day program menu

Our menus are reviewed and approved by the USDA to comply with or to exceed the minimum USDA Child Care Food Program requirements for meal composition and serving size. We emphasize healthy, low-fat (no trans-fats), low-sugar (no high-fructose corn syrup), whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and non-peanut nut butters. 

We refrigerate dairy products and perishable foods at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Our equipment complies with the requirements for food and beverage establishments and is inspected at least annually by the University of Minnesota Environmental Health department. 

Our half-day classes offer a nutritious mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Our full-day classes offer infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with a nutritious and balanced breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. 

Children need to be in attendance within the time frame of meal service in order to be offered meals. Parents/caregivers are welcome to join their child for lunch. Please notify your classroom teacher and purchase your lunch for $5 at the front desk before 9:30 a.m. on the day of your lunch visit. 

Infant Nutrition Program

We support breastfeeding by accepting, storing, and serving expressed human milk for feedings and providing spaces for nursing mothers to nurse or express milk. All breastmilk bottles must be ready-to-feed and labeled with the child’s first and last name, and date. 

We warm bottles in cups of warm water. Our teachers hold infants during bottle feedings. We do not allow propping of bottles with infants or placing an infant in a crib with a bottle. We offer finger foods to infants when developmentally appropriate and with parent consent. 

We use appropriate sanitary procedures and practices to prepare, handle, and store formula, breastmilk, milk, and solid foods. All of our procedures are reviewed and certified by a health consultant. Parents/caregivers provide their own unopened and labeled commercially prepared food and/or formula.