Healthy Eating @ Children 1st Day Nurseries
In our Day Nurseries our menus run on a 4 weekly rota which change according to the season and we aim to promote healthy eating at all of our meal times. Water is available to drink at any time and we offer fruit and healthy snacks between meals.
All our food is freshly prepared daily in our Day Nurseries by our cooks who work hard to ensure that our children enjoy well balanced nutritious and wholesome meals and snacks.
The ages between one and four are a crucial time for learning good dietary habits that can lay the foundations for future good health.
Food and nutrients help to form strong teeth and bones, muscles and a healthy body; a good diet can also help to protect your child against illness now and in the future.
Young children’s need for energy and nutrients is high, but their appetites are small and they can be fussy, too, and it can be a challenge to get your child’s diet right.
Remember, pre-school children can normally eat the amounts they want, even if it seems they’re not taking in very much. At this age, children are often good at regulating their appetite. If they’re not hungry, insisting on larger amounts of food can create a battle, which you’re likely to lose.
There's no need to rely on pre-prepared toddler foods. If the family diet is healthy, children can just have family food.
Our menus in our Day Nurseries all follow the guidelines below –
Make sure your child has the following, every day:
At least one kind of starchy carbohydrate, such as bread, rice, pasta, noodles, cereals or potatoes. One or more of these should be served with all meals.
Fruit and vegetables
Aim for at least five servings a day, where a serving is about a handful in size. Use fruit in puddings and as snacks. Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh varieties.
Vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked (serve crunchy rather than very soft to preserve the vitamins and minerals).
If your child doesn’t like vegetables, try hiding them by pureeing into soups, sauces, casseroles and pizza toppings.
Milk and dairy foods
Milk and dairy foods are an important source of calcium. Your child should be having the equivalent of about one pint (500 to 600ml) of milk a day.
Milk can be used on cereals or in drinks, puddings and sauces, and cheese, fromage frais or yoghurt can be given instead of some milk. Grated cheese, cheese spread or cheese portions can be used on sandwiches or toast. Try yoghurts as a pudding or snack between meals, served alone or with fruit.
Meat, fish and alternatives
Meat, fish and alternatives should be eaten once or twice a day. Cook minced beef, turkey, chicken and pork slowly to ensure it's soft and tender. Nutrition experts recommend at least two servings of fish a week, one of which should be oily. Use eggs, either boiled, in sandwiches, as omelettes or scrambled. Try different beans and pulses, such as lentils, baked beans, peas and chickpeas.
Some more tips and ideas!
- Give your child regular meals and snacks, and try to time these for when your child isn't too tired or hungry.
- It’s helpful to sit down and eat together as a family, and to include your children in buying food and preparing meals.
- Offer small portions on a small plate, and allow your child to have more if they're still hungry.
- Keep sweet foods out of sight until the main meal has been eaten.