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Food and Nutrition

At Immaculate Tots 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 aim to promote the right environment for our children to understand the importance of making healthy food choices. Every mealtime is an opportunity to have a "family style dinning" talking about our food in a relaxing and social environment.

Food that are high in saturated fat, sugar or salt content, squash drinks, fizzy drinks, sweets, or crisps are not provided at our nursery. We reserve the right to remove fizzy drinks, sweet drinks, sweets and other items not fitting in with our healthy eating policy from lunch boxes and replace with fruit and water if available, however we will inform you during collection when this is done.

We are committed to offering children healthy, nutritious and balanced meals and snacks which meet individual needs and requirements. To do this we will ensure the following

  • Menus are planned in advance, rotated regularly and reflect cultural diversity and variation. These are displayed for children and parents to view
  • We provide nutritious food at all snack and meal times, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar, salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings
  • Parents and children are involved in menu planning
  • 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, age/stage discussions will also take place with all 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 say 'please' and 'thank you' and conversation is encouraged
  • Staff use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink, and feeding themselves
  • Staff support children to make healthy choices and understand the need for healthy eating
  • 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
  • The nursery provides parents with daily written records of feeding routines for all children
  • No child is ever left alone when eating/drinking to minimise the risk of choking
  • 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
  • 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 would ask that all parents and carers refer to the guidance below on what should be included in a packed lunch. We do appreciate that not all children may like or be used to eating some of the foods mentioned so would welcome anything you to think to be a suitable alternative.

 

Suggestions for food to include in a healthy packed lunch

  •  Oily fish, such as pilchards, salmon or tuna as an occasional change.
  • Meat, fish or other source of non-dairy protein like lentils, beans, soya or hummus. Usually as part of a sandwich, roll or salad.
  • At least one portion of fruit or vegetables every day. Ensure grapes are cut in half in long ways.
  • A starchy food such as bread, pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes or other type of cereals every day.
  • Dairy food such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais or custard, soya products
  • A drink: water, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, drinking yoghurt, milk drinks or smoothies.
  • Cereal bars instead of cakes and biscuits.

Pretzels, seeds, fruit, crackers and cheese, and vegetable or bread sticks with a healthy dip like hummus.

 

We would appreciate it if you did not include any of these items in your child’s lunch box:

  • Chocolate, including chocolate spread and chocolate chips Nuts or nut products
  • Fried foods
  • Crisps due to the high sugar content
    • Confectionery such as chocolate bars or sweets including items such as Twix, Mars Bars, Chocolate Buttons etc.
    •  Fizzy / Sugary drinks

We will support and promote healthy eating at meal times by encouraging children to eat sandwiches, fruits and savoury foods before eating the sweet item in their lunch box.