Food & Nutrition
Why it is so important to have our own in house chef and prepare healthy balanced, nutritious and tasty meals.
It is our intention to provide breakfast, lunch and light tea alongside two healthy snacks throughout the day as part of our food & nutrition development. We are unable to provide this service until we have been open for six months when we can ask the Ministry for a license to serve food. In the meantime we are happy to provide two healthy snacks a day to complement your own packed lunches. We will keep you updated of our license and would like to assist your own choices for a healthy balanced diet for your children.
It’s really important for a healthy adult life and healthy relationship to food to get off to a healthy start. There is a huge amount of evidence based studies from the NHS (National Health Service) to demonstrate that when children are young it is the perfect time to reinforce and establish good habits of eating well and moving more and as they get older they will find it comes as second nature.
The key to underpinning a lifelong healthy relationship with food is to educate and involve the whole family in what Kids Academy as a nursery are trying to achieve in partnership together for their children.
A busy working mum may not have time to produce and provide a nutritious and well balanced meal plan for snacks and lunches as well as tempting young palates with increased variety and cultural sample meals that we at nursery can.
By providing in-house meals we assist in many ways including health care, weight issues and dental care issues caused from too much sugar for instance:
Many foods and drinks have sugar added to them, our in-house chefs ensure all foods are label friendly and are sugar-free and no added sugar. For a sweet treat, we pick foods that are naturally sweet, such as strawberries, honey and pineapple rather than cakes and biscuits.
We swap sugary drinks for milk – children under two need full fat milk, water or watered-down 100% fruit juice.
There’s often a lot of sugar in breakfast cereal, Porridge, eggs on toast and fruit with yoghurt are our tasty alternatives.
Ideas for lower-sugar snacks include breadsticks, rice cakes, chopped vegetables and fruit – tinned, frozen or fresh fruit are all great.
As well as 3 meals a day, snacks are important to keep young children’s energy levels high throughout the day. At nursery we provide healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Healthy snacks such as toast, rice cakes, homemade plain popcorn or chopped carrots and cucumber with plain yoghurt/hummus.
As well as snacks like rice cakes and pitta bread, fresh fruit is also a good choice. We Never give young children nuts as they can easily choke and they are highly allergic.
Me size meals – healthy portion sizes for kids.
Parents sometimes can substitute meals sizes as a show of affection and rather over feed children. Children need smaller portions than adults – a good way to think about how much smaller children’s stomachs are is to look at the size of their fist compared to your own. They usually know when they’re full so we let them stop when they’ve had enough rather than forcing them to clear their plate.
Young children learn from staff and parents and what they see around them, so if everyone is eating healthily, they will too.
Fussy eating is very common in children under 5 and especially between the ages of 1 and 2 and it’s usually just a phase. At nursery we are trained to deal with this and will keep offering the food, without forcing the point – praise them when they try something new but give them less attention when they won’t.
Meal time food & nutrition
As soon as children start eating solids we introduce regular mealtimes. Sitting down to eat demonstrates they are learning good habits. Meals are at regular times and a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon is provided. Children need nutritious snacks to keep their energy levels topped up throughout the day to help them grow and develop well.
5 A DAY
All children need at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Each main meal provided has lots of vegetables and snack time is an ideal time for nursery to boost the fruit and veg tally – chopped cucumber and carrots with hummus is delicious and popular. Remembering of course that a portion of fruit or veg roughly fits into a child’s hand.
When we are licenced to do so the children will be offered a balanced and nutritious menu daily and each meal is based upon a healthy and nutritive balance of:
- Fruit and vegetables
Large quantities of fats and sugars are avoided as are salts, additives, preservatives and colourings but instead healthy options of foods are delivered to the children in fun and exciting ways such as stewed pears with chocolate shavings, smiley face fruit platters and bread sticks with yummy homemade dips.
To promote and support our commitment to balanced diets we work alongside parents and carers in catering for all children and we do this be following set procedures with children at meal times, some of these examples are:
- If a child does not finish their first course they will be given a small helping of dessert.
- Any child who shows signs of distress when faced with food will have their meal removed without any fuss.
- Children who refuse food will be offered an alternative.
- Children who are slow eaters will be given time to eat their food and not be rushed.
- Quantities will be considered alongside the age of the children.
Our meals are always freshly prepared and will be made each day by a highly experienced and qualified chef in our well equipped kitchens with the aim simply being to provide healthy and nutritionally balanced meals and snacks to the children.
At Kids Academy the sharing of refreshments can play an important part in the social life of nursery as well as reinforcing children’s understanding of the importance of healthy eating. The day nursery and preschool will ensure that:
- All meals and snacks provided are nutritious, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar, salt, additives, preservatives and colourings
- Children’s medical and personal dietary requirements are respected
- Weekly menus are planned in advance and food offered is fresh, wholesome and balanced
- A multi-cultural diet is offered to ensure that children from all backgrounds encounter familiar tastes and that all children have the opportunity also to try unfamiliar foods
- The dietary rules of religious groups and also of vegetarians/vegans are known and met in appropriate ways
- Milk provided for children is whole and pasteurised
- If a main meal is offered, the following elements are included:
- Protein for growth.
- Carbohydrate for energy
- Essential minerals and vitamins in raw foods like salads and fruits