Food & Nutrition
At Lawnswood Childcare we understand the impact our food choices can have on children’s well-being and the environment. We aim to educate our children about the benefits that healthy eating gives them and the positive effects it can have on our bodies. Together through play and partnership with parents we encourage children to make informed lifestyle choices both in the nursery environment, at home and in the outside world.
On a daily basis we provide a varied menu of freshly cooked meals, planned in advance and specifically designed to give children a balanced diet. Throughout the day we offer three meals, breakfast, lunch and tea, with snacks provided in between. Each setting has guideline information on appropriate food portions and food groups, allowing staff to ensure that children are being provided with the recommended daily nutritional requirements.
We will provide fresh drinking water throughout the day. Full fat milk, or a dairy free alternative, will be provided during snack times.
We cater to all children’s individual needs, including the provision of Vegan and Vegetarian foods. Special dietary requirements including those that relate to ethical, religious or medical reasons, can be discussed at your child’s induction.
A copy of the nursery tea menu and our lunch time caterers’ menu is displayed in the nursery foyer from the beginning of the week to which it relates.
At Lawnswood Childcare we aim to make meal times a social occasion. We also encourage the children to join in by assisting to lay tables and clear away after meals.
Meat Free Mondays
At Lawnswood Childcare we are conscientious of the impact our food choices have on our environment. We have made the decision to commit to taking part in Meat Free Monday across all our settings. This will mean no meat products will be served for breakfast, lunch, tea or snacks. We encourage parents who provide packed lunches to take part also.
The campaign, launched in 2009, aims to encourage people to live at least one day per week on a plant-based diet. Following scientific research on the detrimental impact of animal agriculture on our climate, Meat Free Mondays intend to promote a small step towards the conservation of worlds natural resources.
At Lawnswood Childcare we want to ensure that children bringing in lunch from home are being provided with food that is as healthy and nutritious as the food served by the setting. We aim to give clear guidance to all parents, carers and staff on providing healthy packed lunches and snacks. Healthy packed lunches contribute to the health and well-being of children. Therefore, we feel that the contents of lunch boxes being consumed at nursery must be consistent with early year’s nutritional guidelines.
Packed lunch containers:
We must ask that all parents/carers providing a packed lunch place food items in an insulated bag, with freezer blocks, to keep food cool. This is particularly important during summer months. All lunch bags must be clearly labelled with your child’s full name.
Portions and food groups:
Following national guidelines, ‘Eat better, start better’, developed by Action for Children, we ask that you consider the portion size you offer in your child’s lunch box. Too much food may overwhelm your child meaning they are unable to finish their meal. Being overwhelmed by portion size can lead to children feeling anxiety around meal times. Conversely, too small a portion may mean your child is not gaining enough nutrition to provide them with the energy they need. We also ask that all the main food groups are incorporated where possible within each of your child’s packed lunches.
Carbohydrates such as bread (1-2 slices), pasta, couscous (approx 90g/2-3 tablespoons), potato(1 small or ½ a large potato).
Fruit & Vegetables such as Bananas, Satsuma’s, Apples, Pears, Melon chunks Carrot/Cucumber/Pepper sticks etc. Please include at least one portion of fruit, vegetables or salad with each meal and as part of any snacks provided. We kindly ask that grapes & cherry tomatoes are not included due to the risk of choking.
Dairy such as cheese (15-20g/2-3tablespoons), yoghurt, fromage-frais or soya alternatives (60g/1 small pot).
Drinks should preferably be Water but Milk, dairy-free alternative or Smoothies are also acceptable.
Deserts such as a small un-iced cake, small packet of biscuits, flapjack or cereal bar (not containing chocolate).
Sandwich fillings should be savoury only. Jam, honey or chocolate spreads are not suitable for a packed lunch.
Please note that all packed lunches must be age appropriate allowing the child to eat independently and should not need preparing by the nursery staff, this includes reheating.
The following items must not be included in any packed lunches or snacks:
Confectionary such as chocolate, chocolate bars, chocolate chips/buttons, chocolate covered biscuits or sweets.
Nuts, nut products or things that may contain nuts.
Fizzy/Sugary drinks in cartons, bottles or cans. This includes diet drinks and energy drinks, which contain high levels of caffeine and additives.
Crisps or baked savoury snacks due to high salt content.
Pastries and pies, including croissants and pan-au-chocolate
Cooked food items such as pasta, rice, meat. Due to our food hygiene regulations we cannot reheat food items which have been prepared from home so please ensure your child’s lunch can be consumed either at room temperature or from the fridge.
Birthdays and celebrations:
Parents/carers are welcome to bring in cakes/treats for the children during special occasions. However, to protect the children who suffer from allergies or intolerances, we can only allow cakes/treats to be shared if they are shop bought and arrive in their original packaging. This is so that we can identify if any of the children cannot share the food. Cakes/treats must not contain nuts.
Special Diet and Allergies:
We ask parents/carers to be aware that some of the children do suffer with allergies, in particular nuts and dairy. Where possible we will seat children accordingly during meal times to avoid risk of cross contamination. However, we must highlight the importance of refraining from including nuts, nut products or items containing nuts in packed lunch for this reason.
Working with parents and carers:
We hope that all parents/carers will support this policy. To ensure we are promoting healthy eating we will regularly monitor the contents of packed lunches and snacks. We will talk to parents and carers where necessary to offer support and guidance on providing healthy lunches and snacks.
Unfortunately, if the lunches and snacks being provided from home are not nutritionally balanced, parents/carers will be advised on what items do not meet the criteria within this policy and will be sent home at the end of the day. If a child’s packed lunch continues to contain nutritionally inappropriate items, then the parent/carer will be asked to come in to nursery for a consultation with the nursery manager and/or the appointed nutrition monitor.
We can offer a range of ways to support parents/carers in promoting healthy eating including discussions with staff, information sheets and online guidance. We also have our own booklet which gives parents a guide to balanced nutrition in early years, please speak to a member of staff if you wish to see this document.
Meat Free Mondays
Our settings have committed to taking part in the Meat Free Mondays campaign (please see the food and nutrition page on our website for further information). We encourage parents of children who attend on a Monday and who provide their meals from home to take part also.