Food and nutrition

We take great pride and responsibility in feeding your child because we know that good nutrition is the foundation for a healthy happy child who will flourish and develop.

Our food is cooked and prepared fresh, using our on-site kitchen. We have created a diverse range of exciting meals that are wholesome and nutritious. We avoid anything with added sugar or salt, and do not add it to our own meals.

We do not serve any meat in the nursery, nor do we allow meat to be brought onto the premises. This means that any families who wish to keep milk and meat separate can confidently use our provision, knowing that these dietary requirements are maintained to a rigorous standard. Our menus are carefully planned to ensure that children are still able to obtain the right levels of iron and protein from other sources within the menu offering.

We are a flexible nursery, with the aim to meet your child and families needs, so please discuss the menus with us, and if there are food choices that your child likes, which are missing from our menus, we will update them to include your favourites, in line with our health and nutritious eating policy.

We use a two-weekly rotating menu to ensure children are offered variety. Our menus are also changed and updated on a regular basis, around 4 times a year. You can download our menus by clicking here.

Our staff sit with children at mealtimes to encourage good eating habits and the appropriate social skills. We want to install a passion for healthy eating that children can carry through the next stages of their life. Health and Safety and Food Hygiene are reflected in all practices while we prepare snacks and meals.

Times

We provide a breakfast at 7:30, a mid-morning snack around 10am, and serve lunch just before midday. At 14:15 we serve and afternoon snack, which is followed by dinner at 16:45, for those who stay past 16:30.

Snacks



We plan our snacks so that we provide children with healthy, nutritional and multi-cultural food. During the morning we offer a variety of fruit and a drink and in the afternoon we provide raw vegetables, such as cucumber, peppers and . Every child also has their own ‘water bottle’ (or cup!) that is filled up with fresh drinking water. This is constantly available for children throughout the day.

Weaning



When babies start weaning, their meals  can be pureed or mashed accordingly, we are also able to provide children with foods that they can ‘hold’ if you prefer to follow the ‘self-weaning’ method. We will discuss weaning with you in detail, if this relates to your child. Our weaning options can be seen on our menus, and are discussed with parents, so that additional foods can be added according to your weaning preferences.

Menu

Our Food principles

Early years settings provide an ideal opportunity to help every child eat well, enjoy a varied diet and establish healthy eating habits to take with them into their school years. At Rainbow, we seize this opportunity, and ensure that we help develop healthy eating habits, which help set a foundation for your child’s life long eating career!

We adhere to UK guidelines set out for children’s healthy eating in early years and nursery provision. Our practice and menu construction is based on these guidelines. Click here to download these guidelines.UK government standards for food in nursery

The guidelines set out the following principles:

Why a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet essential for young children

A healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity are essential for children’s health and well-being. Research confirms that healthy eating habits in the years before school are very important because they influence growth, development and academic achievement in later life.

A recent review of health inequalities by Marmot7 identifies the early years as a crucial time to intervene to reduce health inequalities across the life course. Quality of early years experiences can have a fundamental impact on all aspects of human development, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Ensuring that children eat well in their early years are key to ensuring that they achieve their potential, and help prevent them becoming overweight and obese. This approach also helps to reduce the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancers in later life.

Good nutrition is important for children aged under five to:

  •  ensure that they get the right amount of energy (calories) and nutrients needed while they are growing rapidly
  • ensure that they do not consume too much energy (calories), which may lead to children becoming overweight or obese
  • encourage them to eat a wide variety of foods and develop good dietary habits to take with them into later childhood and be

A healthy, balanced, nutritious diet for children under five:

A healthy balanced diet for children aged one to five years is based on the four food groups listed below, which provide a range of essential nutrients that children need to grow and develop.

  • Starchy foods
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • Milk and dairy foods

One of the basic principles of healthy eating is variety, as eating a wider range of different foods provides a better balance of nutrients. Planning meals and snacks to include a variety of food and drinks from these four food groups each day will provide children with the good balance of nutrients they need.

This is the food chart, that we use to carefully plan our meals, taken from the UK government guidelines.

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Download our menus by clicking here.