Mealtimes in our nurseries are happy times where children’s social and emotional skills can be developed. We provide the children with a wide range of tastes as well as a well-balanced diet. Each nursery has its own cook who prepares and cooks every meal on site using fresh ingredients, including fresh fruit and vegetables.
All of our meals are carefully planned to meet the individual needs and requirements of each child. Alternative meals will be provided for children with special dietary needs i.e. due to cultural or religious beliefs or for health and development reasons.
Breakfast is offered at all nurseries between 8am and 9am. This consists of toast with a choice of spreads, a choice of cereals and milk or water to drink.
Pre weaning Parents bring in their own sterilised bottles containing the correct amount of boiled water and powdered milk in measured containers. Staff will work closely with parents of babies at all stages of weaning and will compliment care given at home. The baby room has high chairs for those early weaning stages; children will then move to small chairs and tables with the other children in their room and gradually experience socialising and being independent. We welcome parents input and ideas about menus and we are also happy to advise if parents have any concerns about their children’s eating habits at home.
Children usually sit at tables with their key worker and are encouraged to serve themselves from serving dishes and help each other by passing things or even by assisting each other to dish food up. We not only find that this encourages socialisation skills but also often gives even the most fussy eaters the confidence to eat a little more as they seem to enjoy having the option of helping themselves. This is of course closely monitored by staff who will assist children in making sensible choices. Staff also take note of how children eat throughout the day and feed this back to parents at the end of the day.
This is our main meal of the day. We try to offer a variety of meals throughout the week so as well as ‘meat’ dishes on a few days we also try to have a vegetarian meal on at least one day and a fish dish on at least one day. Although vegetarian meals are cooked for children who don’t eat meat every day we try to offer this to all children once a week so that vegetarian children have at least one day when they are sharing the same meal as the other children. It also encourages children to enjoy vegetarian food served in a variety of ways.
Lunch is always followed by dessert and we try to balance eating healthily with a few treats throughout the week so children will regularly be offered a wide variety of fruit served in exciting ways as a dessert but will also on occasion be offered something more traditional such a jam tart or iced sponge and custard. We try to cook all desserts using as low sugar recipes where possible and keep up to date on current guidelines and recommendations regarding children’s dietary needs.
We must emphasise that tea is not meant to replace a child’s evening meal as we know most parents look forward to sharing that with their children at the end of the day. The aim of tea is to bridge the gap between lunch time and going home as many of our children stay with us until six o clock.
Tea is very varied and can range from sandwiches, crumpets and yogurts to low sugar cereals ,(a favourite with many of our children !) salad nibbles and dips or bun and cheese. Fruit is also often served with tea. Drinks will vary from low sugar squashes, to juice or even in winter occasionally hot chocolate.
Tea is often served formally at the table in the same way that lunch is served or may sometimes be served in a cosy tea circle where children can sit and chat with staff and other children that they may not normally sit with for meal times. In the summer children may sometimes be served tea in the garden or may be taken to the park for a picnic!
Drinks are provided throughout the day so children are kept hydrated especially during hot weather and a small snack is offered to children mid- morning.