Food & Nutrition
Why it is so important to have our own in house chef and prepare healthy balanced, nutritious and tasty meals.
It’s really important for a healthy adult life and healthy relationship to food to get off to a healthy start. There is a huge amount of evidence based studies from the NHS (National Health Service) to demonstrate that when children are young it is the perfect time to reinforce and establish good habits of eating well and moving more and as they get older they will find it comes as second nature.
The key to underpinning a lifelong healthy relationship with food is to educate and involve the whole family in what we as a nursery are trying to achieve in partnership together for their children.
A busy working mum may not have time to produce and provide a nutritious and well balanced meal plan for snacks and lunches as well as tempting young palates with increased variety and cultural sample meals that we at nursery can.
By providing in-house meals we assist in many ways including health care, weight issues and dental care issues caused from too much sugar for instance:
Many foods and drinks have sugar added to them, our in-house chefs ensure all foods are label friendly and are sugar-free and no added sugar. For a sweet treat, we pick foods that are naturally sweet, such as strawberries, honey and pineapple rather than cakes and biscuits.
We swap sugary drinks for milk – children under two need full fat milk, water or watered-down 100% fruit juice.
There’s often a lot of sugar in breakfast cereal? Porridge, eggs on toast and fruit with yoghurt are our tasty alternatives.
Ideas for lower-sugar snacks include breadsticks, rice cakes, chopped vegetables and fruit – tinned, frozen or fresh fruit are all great.
As well as 3 meals a day, snacks are important to keep young children’s energy levels high throughout the day. At nursery we provide healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Healthy snacks such as toast, rice cakes, homemade plain popcorn or chopped carrots and cucumber with plain yoghurt/hummus.
As well as snacks like rice cakes and pitta bread, fresh fruit is also a good choice. We Never give young children nuts as they can easily choke and they are highly allergic.
Me size meals – healthy portion sizes for kids
Parents sometimes can substitute meals sizes as a show of affection and rather over feed children. Children need smaller portions than adults – a good way to think about how much smaller children’s stomachs are is to look at the size of their fist compared to your own. They usually know when they’re full so we let them stop when they’ve had enough rather than forcing them to clear their plate.
Young children learn from staff and parents and what they see around them, so if everyone is eating healthily, they will too.
Fussy eating is very common in children under 5 and especially between the ages of 1 and 2 and it’s usually just a phase. At nursery we are trained to deal with this and will keep offering the food, without forcing the point – praise them when they try something new but give them less attention when they won’t.
As soon as children start eating solids we introduce regular mealtimes. Sitting down to eat demonstrates they are learning good habits. Meals are at regular times and a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon is provided. Children need nutritious snacks to keep their energy levels topped up throughout the day to help them grow and develop well.
5 A DAY
All children need at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Each main meal provided has lots of vegetables and snack time is an ideal time for nursery to boost the fruit and veg tally – chopped cucumber and carrots with hummus is delicious and popular. Remembering of course that a portion of fruit or veg roughly fits into a child’s hand.