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Nutrition and Mealtimes Policy

Nutrition and Mealtimes Policy

At Rabbit Patch Day Nursery, we believe that mealtimes should be happy, social occasions for children and staff alike. We promote shared, enjoyable positive interactions at these times.

We are committed to offering children healthy, nutritious and balanced meals and snacks, which meet individual needs and requirements.

We ensure that:

  • A balanced and healthy breakfast, midday meal, tea and two daily snacks are provided for children attending a full day at the nursery
  • Menus are planned in advance and in line with example menu and guidance produced by the Department for Education. These are rotated regularly, reflect cultural diversity and variation and are displayed for children and parents to view
  • All allergens are displayed alongside the menus to show the contents of each meal
  • We provide nutritious food at all snack and mealtimes, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar, salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings
  • Menus include at least three servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day
  • Parents and children are involved in menu planning
  • Only milk and water are provided as drinks to promote oral health. Fresh drinking water is always available and accessible. It is frequently offered to children and babies and intake is monitored. In hot weather staff will encourage children to drink more water to keep them hydrated
  • Individual dietary requirements are respected. We gather information from parents regarding their children’s dietary needs, including any special dietary requirements, preferences and food allergies that a child has and any special health requirements, before a child starts or joins the nursery. Where appropriate, we will carry out a risk assessment in the case of allergies and work alongside parents to put into place an individual dietary plan for their child
  • We give careful consideration to seating to avoid cross contamination of food from child to child. Where appropriate, an adult will sit with children during meals to ensure safety and minimise risks. Where appropriate, discussions will also take place with children about allergies and potential risks to make them aware of the dangers of sharing certain foods
  • Staff show sensitivity in providing for children’s diets and allergies. They 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
  • Staff set a good example and eat with the children and show good table manners. Meal and snack times are organised so that they are social occasions in which children and staff participate in small groups. During meals and snack times children are encouraged to use their manners and conversation is encouraged
  • Staff use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drinks and feeding themselves
  • Staff support children to make healthy choices and understand the need for healthy eating
  • Where possible, we provide foods from the diet of each of the children’s cultural backgrounds, providing children with familiar foods and introducing them to new ones
  • Cultural differences in eating habits are respected
  • Any child who shows signs of distress at being faced with a meal he/she does not like will have his/her food removed without any fuss. If a child does not finish his/her first course, he/she will still be given a helping of dessert
  • Children not on special diets are encouraged to eat a small piece of everything
  • Children who refuse to eat at the mealtime are offered food later in the day
  • Children are given time to eat at their own pace and not rushed
  • Quantities offered take account of the ages of the children being catered for in line with recommended portion sizes for babies and young children
  • We promote positive attitudes to healthy eating through play opportunities and discussions
  • No child is ever left alone when eating or drinking to minimise the risk of choking.
  • We will sometimes celebrate special occasions such as birthdays with the occasional treat of foods such as cake, sweets or biscuits. These will be given at mealtimes to prevent tooth decay and not spoil the child’s appetite. Where we have frequent birthdays and celebrations, we consider other alternatives such as celebrating through smiles and praise, stickers and badges, choosing a favourite story, becoming a special helper, playing a party game, dancing and/or singing their favourite song
  • We do allow parents to bring in cakes on special occasions. We ensure that all food brought in from parents meets the above and health and safety requirements and ingredients that are listed within the Food Information for Consumers (FIR) 2014 and detailed in the allergens policy and procedure
  • All staff who prepare and handle food are competent to do so and receive training in food hygiene which is updated every three years
  • In the very unlikely event of any food poisoning affecting two or more children on the premises, whether or not this may arise from food offered at the nursery, we will inform Ofsted as soon as reasonably practical and in all cases within 14 days. We will also inform the relevant health agencies and follow any advice given.
  • We are a strictly NO NUT setting.
  • No rice drinks/milk are to be given to any child under the age of 5.
  • Whole milk will be given to children over the age of 1 years.
  • Semi skimmed milk will be given to children over the age of 2 years.

Placemat key system:

  • Green- standard diet
  • Yellow- intolerance/parental preference
  • Red- allergy

Under 1’s MUST NOT be given:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Strawberries
  • Honey
  • Nuts
  • Crackers or breadsticks

Under 2’s snack preparation:

  • All fruit and some vegetables must be peeled
  • Carrot batons/sticks are not to be given
  • Grapes must be cut into quarters
  • Sausages and bananas must be cut into quarters and NOT rounds

Over 2’s snack preparation:

We offer a rolling snack bar to over 2’s encouraging children to participate in snack time when they feel ready to. This can work well and is seen to be less disruptive to children’s playing and learning. The snack bar is open for a set amount of time between 20-40 minutes and children are asked more than once if they would like to have snack. If they decide they do not want it, snack is not mandatory.  It is important that children sit down at a table to eat their snacks and are always supervised. This promotes good eating behaviours/ habits.

Reheating of food is not permitted:

Please speak to Mandy or Terry (cooks) to keep warm or serve an alternative if the child is asleep.

Packed lunches:

We do not allow children to bring packed lunches into the setting.

This policy was adopted on Signed on behalf of the nursery Date for review
31/10/2023 Chevelle White October 2024


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