We have recently been reviewing our menus in nursery using a newly published code of practice by the “School Food Trust” who have outlined the nutritional needs of children aged 1-5 years. We are pleased to discover that generally we already exceed many of the standards and practice advised, particularly with regard to serving fresh food and non-processed meats, vegetarian meals, pasta sauces and fish fingers etc, which according to the advice should be offered no more than once a week each. We already offer a vegetarian meal containing pulses for all children at least once a week.
However we would appreciate parent’s views on our revised menus and meal timings which will reflect the following changes that more closely follow the standards, some of which are identified below:
- Meals should be spaced no more than 3 hours apart.
We propose that breakfast will be served from 8.10 am until 8.40 am when we will clear promptly to fit in some time for play!
Snack at 10.15 will include a protein and a starch as well as a small protion of fruit or vegetables. (e.g. carrot hummus and breadsticks or crackers, hard boiled egg slices, cream cheese and apple)
A two course lunch to be served at 12.15 and (to reduce the current long gap between lunch and tea) a two course “nursery” or “high” tea will be served at 3.45 followed by a light low sugar snack with milk at around 5.20 for children still in nursery.
- Oily fish must be served twice a month (as research suggests there is a serious lack of essential oils vitamins and minerals found only in oily fish in present-day children’s diets)
We have introduced salmon where it is not already in our fish pie and pasta recipes. We are trying the children on sardines and pilchards using various recipes.
- No dried fruit in between meals (to avoid tooth decay)
We are changing our menu plans so that fresh fruit only, bread, eggs,cheese, dips, crackers etc.only are served in between meals as snacks.
- Children may have plain or fruit cake, plain biscuits, fruit and milk puddings as a dessert twice a day.
We will exchange some of our fruit-only desserts for a pudding with milk and/or fruit in (n.b.dairy free diets will be catered for with milk alternatives). Instead we will offer fruit options at snack and breakfast time, along with low sugar carbohydrate and a small amount of protein.
- Diluted fruit juices can be offerd at meal times as part of a chid’s “5 fruit and vegetables per day”
We will offer apple juice and orange juice)(diluted) at least once a week
This nutritional advice and our nursery menu plan assumes that children who are in nursery for 10 hours a day will receive up to 90% of their nutritional requirements. Please remember that children who have their last snack at 5.20pm will have a long wait until breakfast in nursery if they have nothing more at home. Hunger can cause children to wake early and be very fractious and inattentive, so we advise that if you do not have supper with your child in the evening, you offer them a light snack (even if it is only toast and milk or yogurt) before bed. Similarly, if they wake very early in the morning before coming to nursery. (N.B. For some, the start of the nursery day and breakfast may be up to two hours after waking, which is a long time if hungry) they may need a light snack at home to start the day.
These guidelines apply to children aged around 1 year up to 5 years old. There is (of course) reasonable flexibility in the times that we offer food. For instance if a child falls sleeps at lunch time, they will be served lunch later. Weaning babies up to 1 year old will inevitably have different nutritional requirements from older children which we will cater for in partnership with parents in order to meet individual need.
We will continue to offer alternatives (of course) for children who have confirmed food allergies, however we ask you to seek medical guidance on our behalf about food requirements and restrictions, obtaining the information in writing on your child’s health care plan.