Food and Drink
13. Food and Drink
We regard snack and meal times as an important part of our day. Eating represents a social time for children and adults and helps children to learn about healthy eating. We promote healthy eating using resources and materials from our local community and the Pre-school Learning Alliance. At snack and meal times, we aim to provide nutritious food, which meets the children’s individual dietary needs.
We follow these procedures to promote healthy eating in our setting.
· Before a child starts to attend the setting, we ask their parents about their dietary needs and preferences, including any allergies. (See the Managing Children who are Sick, Infectious or with Allergies Policy.)
· We record information about each child’s dietary needs in the Child Profile Form and parents sign the form to signify that it is correct.
· We regularly consult with parents to ensure that our records of their children’s dietary needs – including any allergies – are up-to-date. Parents sign the updated record to signify that it is correct.
· All staff are made aware of current information about individual children’s dietary needs so that all our staff and volunteers are fully informed about them.
· We implement systems to ensure that children receive only food and drink that is consistent with their dietary needs and preferences, as well as their parents’ wishes.
· We plan menus in advance, involving children and parents in the planning.
· We display the menus of meals/snacks for parents to view.
· We provide nutritious food for all meals and snacks, avoiding large quantities of saturated fat, sugar and salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings.
· We include a variety of foods from the four main food groups:
– meat, fish and protein alternatives;
– dairy foods;
– grains, cereals and starchy vegetables; and
– fruit and vegetables.
· We include foods from the diet of each of the children’s cultural backgrounds, providing children with familiar foods and introducing them to new ones.
· We are a nut free.
· Through discussion with parents and research reading, we obtain information about the dietary rules of the religious groups to which children and their parents belong, and of vegetarians and vegans, as well as about food allergies. We take account of this information in the provision of food and drinks.
· We provide a vegetarian alternative on days when meat or fish are offered.
· We show sensitivity in providing for children’s diets and allergies. We do not use a child’s diet or allergy as a label for the child or make a child feel singled out because of her/his diet or allergy.
· We organise meal and snack times so that they are social occasions in which children and adults participate.
· We use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink and feeding themselves.
· We provide children with utensils that are appropriate for their ages and stages of development and that take account of the eating practices in their cultures.
· Milk is provided at snack times and water throughout the day therefore we do not see the need for sports bottles from home to be brought in.
· We have fresh drinking water constantly available for the children. We inform the children about how to obtain the water and that they can ask for water at any time during the day.
· In accordance with parents’ wishes, we offer children arriving early in the morning, and/or staying late, an appropriate meal or snack.
· To protect children with food allergies, we discourage children from sharing and swapping their food with one another.
· For young children who drink milk, we provide whole pasteurised milk. Although we slowly introduce semi-skimmed milk from the age of two years; firstly, into meals and dishes, such as on cereal or in white sauces, before offering it as a drink, so that the transition is gradual.
· For each child under three, we provide parents with daily written information about feeding routines, intake and preferences.
We have fresh water dispensers available in both rooms and the garden. This helps independence and communication skills. Staff can monitor how much the children are drinking, and this also helps monitor the child’s caloric intake alongside snacks, meals and milk through the day.
Children cannot eat birthday cake on the premises which have been brought in, however it can be cut up and given to the children to take home. Alternatively, if you would like our chef to make a cake so that the children can eat it at nursery this can be done for a cost.
Regulation (EC) 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs.
Safer Food, Better Business (Food Standards Agency 2011)
Other useful Pre-school Learning Alliance publications
Nutritional Guidance for the Under Fives (Ed. 2010)
The Early Years Essential Cookbook (2009)
Healthy and Active Lifestyles for the Early Years (2012)
Reviewed by: A.T and S.P Sept '18