The Nursery will adopt a healthy eating policy that will ensure that children are given the right balance of foods to give them all the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. It will also help them to eat healthily and can reduce the risk of serious diseases later in life. The Nursery will offer at least five portions of fruit and vegetables throughout the day and milk and water will be accessible at all times.
We aim to provide suitable food for all. Children’s nutritional and dietary requirements will always be adhered to. Our food reflects the ethnicity and cultures of all children attending the nursery. Parents are asked to provide information on their child’s needs during admission.
All food we serve is healthy, so whatever the child chooses will be nutritious. We trust children to know how much they want to eat and allow them to say ‘no’ to something they dislike. Food will not be used as a reward or punishment. Portion sizes are age appropriate.
We serve small portion sizes as it is better for children to ask for seconds than to serve them too much. This helps children to recognise when they are hungry and when they have eaten enough.
We believe that water and milk are the best drinks for children’s teeth and bodies. Therefore, we provide whole milk for children under two; we do not use skimmed milk for children under five. Drinks are offered in an open cup from six months and bottles stopped at one year. If your child is on formula milk, we ask that parents either provide ready to use formula milk, or prepare them at home. There is a supportive breastfeeding environment at Nishkam Nursery. Breastmilk is the ideal source of nutrition for infants for at least the first year of life. We have refrigerated storage space for expressed breastmilk which is clearly labelled with name and date. Mothers are welcome to breastfeed and a space will be provided for this. We can direct mothers to where they can access further breastfeeding support.
Either a meal or a snack is offered to children at least every 1½–3 hours as children have small stomachs and high nutrient needs to grow and develop, and to play and achieve. Snacks served are mini-meals, with components as healthy as mealtime choices.
Children are seated when eating meals and snacks. The Nursery will also ensure the expected standards of table manners and behaviour will be consistent. Meal time should be happy, social occasions for staff and children alike. We promote activities and non-food treats, such as craft projects, stickers and balloons, as alternatives to birthday sweets. If food is used for celebrations it forms part of a balanced meal provision and does not replace healthy foods.
Mealtimes are relaxed, calm and with shared conversation. We eat with the children at mealtimes and eat the same food. We role-model good manners and eating behaviour, direct conversation, and create a calm and relaxed eating environment. At the same time we can supervise the children eating. This is important because choking happens quietly and immediate help is vital.
Children are encouraged and helped to be successful in whatever self-feeding and self-serving they are capable of doing. Food is served in a form that young children can eat with minimum assistance and without choking; the texture changing from soft mashed food to adult texture by the age of 12 months.
Parents are given information on the meals and snacks provided.
We tell parents how well their child ate during the day and which foods they particularly enjoyed or tried. Children benefit when parents, carers and staff share information and work together.
Special occasions and birthdays are celebrated with healthy food or non-food treats. Unfortunately, we do not allow food to be brought from home.
We encourage eligible pregnant women and mothers with children under four to register with the Healthy Start scheme and access the weekly food vouchers. We will promote free Healthy Start vitamins to all pregnant or breastfeeding women and all children up to the age of four.
Updated April 2019