Food, Nutrition and Health Policy
The sharing of meals and snacks at Joeys plays a very important part in a child’s social and emotional development, as well as reinforcing children’s understanding of the importance of healthy eating. We promote healthy eating 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 Registration 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.
§ We display 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 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.
§ At Joeys, we provide children with drinks, either milk or water at snack times and water with lunch. Fresh fruit juice is offered in our Out of School Club during breakfast and snack times.
§ Fresh drinking water is available for all children at all times. We ask parents if they are bringing drinks from home that they respect Joeys’ policy and only send water in their drinking cup.
§ At snack the children are always offered at least 2 varieties of fresh fruit alongside their savoury snack, such as wholemeal toast, teacakes and sandwiches.
§ We include a variety of foods from the four main food groups:
- meat, fish and protein alternatives;
- dairy foods;
- grains, cereals and starch vegetables; and
- Fruit and vegetables.
§ During activities throughout the year we will encourage the children to try new and varied foods, such as breads from around the world, multicultural foods and unusual fruits 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 also have visits to local shop to give the children opportunities to purchase their own fruit and vegetables.
§ The children will be given the opportunity to join in with cooking activities, which Joeys tries to keep healthy such as, fruit kebabs, vegetable soup, vegetable pizzas, fruity curries and wholemeal bread.
§ We take care not to provide food containing nuts or nut products and we are especially vigilant where we have a child who has a known allergy to nuts.
§ 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 and make every effort to ensure Halal meat or kosher food is available for children who require it.
§ 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.
§ 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.
§ We inform parents who provide food for their children about the storage facilities available in our setting.
§ We give parents who provide food for their children information about suitable containers for food.
§ In order 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 two, we provide parents with daily written information about feeding routines, intake and preferences.
Where parents wish to provide a packed lunch instead of have a cooked meal we:
§ ensure perishable contents of packed lunches are refrigerated and ask parents to label such items and place in the box provided on the lunch box shelf, we will then transfer them to a fridge;
§ inform parents of our policy on healthy eating;
§ can reheat meals in the Koala room for both lunch and tea;
§ can reheat evening meals in the Little Jumpers room but not lunches due to the session being so busy
§ we cannot reheat meals for out of school club
§ we cannot reheat high risk foods such as chicken or rice
§ we will only reheat a meal once
§ Encourage parents to provide healthy lunches with fruit, and milk based deserts, such as yoghurt or crème fraiche. We discourage sweet drinks and can provide children with water or diluted fresh fruit juice;
§ Discourage packed lunch contents that consist largely of crisps, processed foods, sweet drinks and sweet products such as cakes or biscuits. We reserve the right to return this food to the parent as a last resort;
§ Provide children bringing packed lunches with plates, cups and cutlery; and ensure that adults sit with children while they eat their lunch so that the mealtime is a social occasion.
Signed on behalf of
Milnthorpe Family Centre Directors
Katie Smyth, Manager Reviewed January 2018