orientation letter/menu

Part 1: Essay: Orientation Letter
Food safety sanitation requirements, storage, preparation, proper food handling, and presentation are the first steps in ensuring proper diet and nutrition for a child’s health and welfare.

As the imagined administrator of your child care center, you believe the new employee you’ve hired to work unsupervised in your center’s kitchen is experienced, knowledgeable, and already understands most guidelines regarding these five topics. However, on the new employee’s first morning of work at your center, you’re alarmed to discover the new employee doesn’t correctly understand best practices, rules, regulations, and guidelines well enough to work alone and unsupervised in the center’s kitchen area for an entire day. You decide to write an Orientation Letter to your new employee, and, in it, you will summarize at least twenty (20) of the most important rules, regulations, and guidelines you expect them to meticulously follow as they work in the kitchen.

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Because you are not sharing your own personal knowledge, experience, or common sense guidelines within your letter to your employee, the letter won’t summarize what you already know about these five topics. Instead, (and as this examination is considered to be a research assignment), you must use available sources, both in print and online, to research the most professional and proper policies and protocols. Be sure the books, journal articles, and websites you’re reading and retrieving information from are credible, reputable, professional, and offer up-to-date information.

As with all ECE exams, begin with your Title Page formatted in APA style. Refer to the Sample APA Title Page on the Early Childhood Learning Resource Center: https://pflibrary.pennfoster.edu/earlychildhoodcenter/college Format your paper using a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial, 12-point type. Set the margins at a standard 1 inch on all sides. Set your line spacing for double-spacing. Because you’ve already provided your information (your first and last name, your student ID number, the examination name and number, the course name and number and the date of submission) on your Title Page, no running header is necessary. The standard style format for citations, if required, is American Psychological Association (APA).

Your completed work in Part One will be written in essay format consisting of seven (7) fully developed paragraphs.

From your research, select at least twenty (20) guidelines and write about these in your Orientation Letter. In this letter, be sure to appropriately cite the source of each guideline, use APA-formatted in-text citations to indicate the original source of each guideline, and include a References Page in APA format at the conclusion of your assignment. You are encouraged to access and review the course resources available on the Early Childhood College Programs and Courses Learning Resource Center for additional guidance on completing this assignment: https://pflibrary.pennfoster.edu/earlychildhoodcenter/college

In structuring your Orientation Letter, you’ll wish to begin with a salutation (“Dear New Employee,”) followed by an introductory paragraph that previews for the reader (in this instance, your new employee) what they’ll be reading and learning about. In your introductory paragraph, you’ll want to motivate your reader to understand the importance of food safety and to apply the outlined practices in their work. Your introductory paragraph is the best place to include your thesis statement (the most important statement, summary, point or argument to be made in your assignment). Your introductory paragraph will likely be comprised of at least five to seven fully developed sentences.

In your second paragraph, summarize four or more guidelines you feel are most important regarding the topic of sanitation. Include APA-formatted in-text citations to credit the original source of each guideline. This paragraph will likely be at least five to seven fully developed sentences.

Your third paragraph will summarize four or more of the most important guidelines related to the topic of food storage. Include APA-formatted in-text citations to credit the original source of each guideline. This paragraph will be five to seven fully developed sentences.

Follow this with a new paragraph of at least five to seven fully developed sentences that summarize four or more of the most important guidelines related to the topic of food preparation. Include APA-formatted in-text citations to credit the original source of each guideline.

In your fifth paragraph, summarize four or more guidelines you believe to be most important regarding the topic of food handling. Include APA-formatted in-text citations to credit the original source of each guideline. This paragraph will be at least five to seven fully developed sentences.

Then, summarize four or more of the most important guidelines related to the topic of food presentation. Include APA-formatted in-text citations to credit the original source of each guideline. This sixth paragraph will include at least five to seven fully developed sentences.

Finally, share your conclusion in your final paragraph. Remind the reader of your supported thesis statement, summarize what they have learned in reading your Orientation Letter, and reiterate what they’ll be able to do differently (and better) as a result. Include any final thoughts you believe your new employee should be left with in order to satisfactorily perform their work, then close your letter appropriately.

Note there is no specified word count for your Essay: Orientation Letter of your Menu Project. Your instructor will consider the quality of your summarized guidelines rather than count the number of your words. Be sure to use fully developed sentences and paragraphs, and follow APA formatting in your in-text citations and references. Essays that are received without appropriate and comprehensive in-text citations and a separate References Page in APA format may be determined to be plagiarized.

Part 2: Creating a Menu

For this part of your project, you’ll select an age group for which you’ll plan a week’s menu that includes three meals a day, plus snacks. See Figures 1 and 2, which illustrate the older food guide pyramid and the simpler Choose My Plate food guide, which shows the proportions of a child’s plate to be filled with each food group.

FIGURE 1—The USDA food pyramid shows the proportion of foods from each food group to be eaten daily. From left, the sections represent grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein.

FIGURE 2—Choose My Plate simplifies choosing the right proportions of foods by showing that half of the daily diet should comprise vegetables and fruit and the other half grains and protein, with the emphasis on vegetables and grains. The circle represents milk or other dairy products.
On your submission, be sure to clearly identify the age group you’ve selected. The age groups for this project are

Children 1–2 years old
Children 3–5 years old
After carefully reviewing the nutritional information, you’ll use the menu template provided to create a five-day menu for your chosen age group. Take into account the nutritional needs (calories, recommended dietary intake, and food sources for vitamins, minerals, and nutrients) for the age group you’re working with. We’ve included a sample menu with one day’s menu completed to show you how it should look.

In reviewing your completed menu, your instructor will be considering the variety you’ve offered in your meal planning, so be sure to offer different meals and snacks on each of the five days. Your instructor will also be evaluating the accuracy of the age-appropriate and measurable serving sizes listed on your menu. If you need help determining a specific serving size for a food or beverage item included in your menu, refer to the information shared within this study guide.

Note: in planning your theoretical menu, it isn’t necessary to consider or include a calorie count, nor must you plan accommodations for food allergies, religious restrictions, or other dietary considerations.

Preparing Your Project

When you’ve completed your essay orientation letter and planned your menu for all five days in the age group you’ve chosen, you’ll transfer your menu information onto the menu template. To do so, use the file download link in this lesson. Copy and paste the menu template into the same document as your Part 1 essay. Title the menu “Part 2: Creating a Menu.” Using the sample menu as a guide, complete your menu and save your file.

When you’ve completed both the essay and the menu, check them carefully for errors. Run the spell check and grammar check, and pay attention to the red and green lines that mark possible errors. However, you must also proofread for errors that the computer doesn’t pick up, such as mistakes in grammar and missing or misused words or punctuation.

Note: There is a Menu Project templated available to all students on the Early Childhood Programs and Courses Learning Resource Center, https://pflibrary.pennfoster.edu/earlychildhoodcenter/college which contains the Menu to be used in completing this assignment.

Summary
Food Groups

To make knowledgeable selections, you need to know what’s included in each food group. Here are the basic components of each food group, although you may find additional options during your research.

Protein

Protein builds up, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Some protein foods are highly allergenic; find out if children in your group have allergies.

Note: Take special care with children who are allergic to eggs, nuts, or other foods.

The following protein foods may be used as part of a healthful menu:

Beef
Poultry
Fish
Eggs
Nuts and seeds
Beans and peas (black beans, split peas)
Lentils
Tofu
Veggie burgers
Grains

Whole-grain products such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice are recommended because they have more fiber and help provide feelings of fullness.

Note: Avoid sugary cereals.

Choose from the following grain-based foods as part of a healthful menu plan:

Bread
Cereal
Rice
Tortillas
Pasta
Dairy

Using the Choose My Plate guidelines, the dairy circle could be fulfilled with up to a cup of milk at each serving (depending on age), but you also can use yogurt or cheese for dairy servings. Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy most of the time for children over two years of age.

Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends whole milk for children 1-2 years of age.

The following dairy-based foods may be part of a healthful menu plan:

Milk
Yogurt
Cheese
Fortified soy milk
Fruits

Fruit servings may be fresh, frozen, or dried, but fresh is always the best choice. Try to avoid using canned fruits packed in syrup, as they contain too much sugar. If you must use canned fruit, choose the kind that’s packed in juice without added sugar.

Note: Many children have allergies to strawberries and bananas, as well as other, more exotic fruits.

Vegetables

Once again, fresh is best! Frozen is a good second choice, but canned vegetables are often loaded with salt. Look for low-salt or salt-free varieties if you must buy canned vegetables.

Note: Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, so children should be encouraged to try as many as possible.

Calories

Are calories bad for you? No. Your body needs calories for energy. But eating too many calories—or the wrong kind of calories—and not burning enough of them through activity can lead to unhealthy weight gain. In addition, a steady diet of the wrong kinds of foods begins a lifelong destructive pattern that leads to obesity and poor health.

Most foods and drinks contain calories. Some foods, such as lettuce, contain few calories (1 cup of shredded lettuce has less than 10 calories). Other foods, like peanuts, contain a lot of calories (½ cup of peanuts has 427 calories). Children need a healthful balance of calories and nutrition.

Kids’ Favorites

Many adults watch their calories if they’re trying to lose weight, but most active kids don’t need to do this; however, all kids can benefit from eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes the right number of calories—not too many and not too few. Unfortunately, the kinds of foods kids love to eat may be so high in calories, fat, and sodium that the bad outweighs the good. For example, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and chicken tenders with fries have long been favorites of children and staple foods in daycares and homes alike. But here are some startling numbers that should have you rethinking those menus:

The average serving of macaroni and cheese has 800 calories and contains 810 milligrams of sodium and 48 grams of fat.
A grilled cheese sandwich with fries contains 1,020 calories and averages 2,170 milligrams of sodium and 54 grams of fat.
Chicken fingers with fries contain 1,030 calories, 2,170 milligrams of sodium, and 54 grams of fat.
For preschoolers, one of these meals contains almost a full day’s calories, more than a full day’s worth of fat, and up to twice the adequate intake level of sodium. Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce, low-fat cheese on toasted (not grilled) whole-wheat bread, and baked chicken with oven fries are good substitutes for the high-calorie foods listed.

Caloric Needs of Children

On the average, preschool children ages 1-3 need 900-1,000 calories a day. Children ages 4-8 need up to 1,400 calories. Height, growth rates, and activity levels will affect individual requirements. To ensure proper caloric intake and to maintain proper nutrition, a child should eat the following every day:

Five servings of fruits and vegetables
At least one food rich in vitamin C
At least one food rich in vitamin A
At least one food that’s high in fiber
Two servings of protein, such as meat, fish, or eggs, or alternative protein, such as beans, tofu, or nuts
Vitamins and Fiber

There are 13 recognized vitamins, which must be obtained in food, since, with a few exceptions, they can’t be synthesized by the human body. Most vitamins are involved in growth and metabolism functions, so they’re vital to the health of young children. Fiber, while not a nutrient, assists in digestion by absorbing water and providing bulk.

Vitamin C

Sources of vitamin C include the following:

Tomatoes
Strawberries
Grapefruit
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Greens (spinach, kale)
Broccoli
Sweet peppers
Tangerines
Oranges
Vitamin A

Sources of vitamin A include the following:

Cantaloupe
Pumpkin
Carrots
Sweet potatoes
Spinach
Apricots
Broccoli
Winter squash
Watermelon
Fiber

Sources of fiber include the following:

Cereals
Bananas
Raisins
Oatmeal
Macaroni
Crackers
Apples (with skin)
Whole-wheat bread
Baked potatoes (with skin)
Pinto beans
Green beans
Serving Sizes

Standard serving sizes are suggested based on the typical child’s needs. Refer to the information below, as well as the following charts for bread and bread alternative serving sizes. Please note: Each food item on the menu must include an age-appropriate and specific serving size.

Suggested Serving Sizes for Children Ages 1–2

Milk/juice = ½ cup
Vegetable or fruit = ½ cup
Meat or protein alternative = ½ ounce for a snack and 1 ounce for lunch and dinner
Bread = Refer to the following bread and bread alternative serving size charts.
Suggested Serving Sizes for Children Ages 3–5

Milk/juice = ¾ cup
Vegetable or fruit = ½ cup
Meat or protein alternative = ½ ounce for a snack and 1½ ounce for lunch and dinner
Bread = Refer to the following bread and bread alternative serving size charts.
Suggested Serving Sizes for Children Ages 6–12

Milk/juice = 1 cup
Vegetable or fruit = ¾ cup
Meat or protein alternative = 1 ounce for a snack and 2 ounces for lunch and dinner
Bread = Refer to the following bread and bread alternative serving size charts.
BREAD/BREAD ALTERNATE REQUIREMENTS FOR CACFP
Serving Size for 1–5 year old children = ½ serving
Serving Size for 6–12 year old children = 1 serving
GROUP A MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP A
Bread-type coating
Breadsticks (hard)
Chow mein noodles
Crackers (saltines and snack crackers)
Croutons
Pretzels (hard)
Stuffing (dry)
Note: Weights apply to bread in stuffing ½ serving = 10 grams or 0.4 ounces
1 serving = 20 grams or 0.7 ounces
GROUP B MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP B
Bagels
Batter-type coating
Biscuits
Breads (white, wheat, whole wheat, French, Italian)
Buns (hamburger or hot dog)
Crackers (graham crackers—all shapes, animal crackers)
Egg roll skins
English muffins
Pita bread (white, wheat, whole wheat)
Pizza crust
Pretzels (soft)
Rolls (white, wheat, whole wheat, potato)
Tortillas (wheat or corn)
Tortilla chips (wheat or corn)
Taco shells ½ serving = 13 grams or 0.5 ounces
1 serving = 25 grams or 0.9 ounces
GROUP C MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP C
Cookies (plain)
Cornbread
Corn muffins
Croissants
Pancakes
Pie crust (dessert pies, fruit turnovers, and meat/meat alternate pies)
Waffles ½ serving = 16 grams or 0.6 ounces
1 serving = 31 grams or 1.1 ounces
GROUP D MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP D
Donuts (cake and yeast-raised, unfrosted)
Granola bars (plain)
Muffins (all except corn)
Sweet roll (unfrosted)
Toaster pastry (unfrosted) ½ serving = 25 grams or 0.9 ounces
1 serving = 50 grams or 1.8 ounces
BREAD/BREAD ALTERNATE REQUIREMENTS FOR CACFP
Serving Size for 1–5 year old children = ½ serving
Serving Size for 6–12 year old children = 1 serving
GROUP E MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP E
Cookies (with nuts, raisins, chocolate pieces, and/or fruit purees)
Donuts (cake and yeast-raised, frosted or glazed)
French toast
Grain fruit bars
Granola bars (with nuts, raisins, chocolate pieces and/or fruit)
Sweet rolls (frosted)
Toaster pastry (frosted) ½ serving = 31 grams or 1.1 ounces
1 serving = 63 grams or 2.2 ounces
GROUP F MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP F
Cake (plain, unfrosted)
Coffee cake ½ serving = 38 grams or 1/3 ounce
1 serving = 75 grams or 2.7 ounces
GROUP G MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP G
Brownies (plain)
Cake (all varieties, frosted) ½ serving = 58 grams or 2.0 ounces
1 serving = 115 grams or 4.0 ounces
GROUP H MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP H
Barley
Breakfast cereals (cooked—whole grain, enriched or fortified)
Bulgur or cracked wheat
Macaroni (all shapes)
Noodles (all varieties)
Pasta (all shapes)
Ravioli (noodle only)
Rice (enriched white or brown) 1 serving = ½ cup cooked or 25 grams dry
GROUP I MINIMUM SERVING SIZE FOR GROUP I
Ready-to-eat breakfast cereal (cold, dry—whole grain, enriched, or fortified) 1 serving = ¾ cup or 1.0 ounce, whichever is less
Sample Menu

For this sample menu, we chose ages 6-12 and filled in only one day of the week. You’ll be required to not only choose an age group, but also fill in each day, Monday through Friday, to complete your project.

Form Menu for Age Group 6–12
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast
Milk
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable
1 cup 2% milk
¾ cup oat cereal
¾ cup sliced fruit
Snack
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable or Milk
2.2 ounces granola
¾ cup apple juice
Lunch
Milk
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable
Fruit/Vegetable
Protein
1 cup 2% milk
½ cup pasta
¾ cup green salad with salad dressing
¾ cup fruit salad
(2) 1-ounce chicken meatballs
Afternoon Snack
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable or Milk
2.2 ounce oatmeal cookie
¾ cup raisins
Evening Meal
Milk
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable
Fruit/Vegetable
Protein
1 cup 2% milk
½ cup brown rice
1 cup mixed vegetables (stir fry)
2 ounces beef
Evening Snack
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable or Milk
1 slice banana bread
1 cup 2% milk
When you’re ready to complete your menu, go to your student portal and locate the Word file of the Menu Project template. Copy the template and paste it at the end of your essay document. Then fill in your menu information. As you type your menu into the template, the spaces will expand to fit your material.

If you’re unable to copy and paste the template electronically, you may use the following template .

Form Menu for Age Group ______
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast
Milk
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable

Snack
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable or Milk

Lunch
Milk
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable
Fruit/Vegetable
Protein

Afternoon Snack
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable or Milk

Evening Meal
Milk
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable
Fruit/Vegetable
Protein

Evening Snack
Bread
Fruit/Vegetable or Milk

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