Food & Drink
It is very important to us at The Muswell Hill Preschool that children are fed nutritious home-cooked meals that provide them with the nutrients they require to grow and develop. With this in mind all of our menus designed by specialist nutritionists meaning you can rest assured that your child will be receiving healthy food when they’re at The Muswell Hill Preschool. We serve largely organic food and provide our children with varied tasty meals.
We are committed to Healthy Eating and all our dishes offered in the nursery rank as ‘healthy eating choices’.
As Parents and Nursery Carers we take this development process to be as important as any other daily learning activity. All of our food that is contained in the recipes for the menus are entirely organic.
Our daily diets from when we are young sets the patterns and tones for our eating habits in later life. It is important that we consider the foods we feed our young children very carefully, for example avoiding giving them food that contains added sugar or salt, ensuring that we provide them with a balanced diet especially once we start reducing their milk feeds and offering them a wide range of foods to taste.
It is considered a good practice to give your child finger foods such as batons of cooked carrot, broccoli or cauliflower to hold and eat alongside their mainstay foods, so they can start to feed themselves. Children should be given every opportunity to feed themselves to promote physical development, independence and self -confidence.
Every effort will be made to ensure that the dietary needs of all our children are met and those children with allergies and preferences are given a meal as similar as possible to the menu. All food is made fresh within the nursery every day and all staff hold a food hygiene certificate.
Food is never withheld as a form of punishment. Children are not allowed to bring any food into the nursery apart from birthday cakes which have to be shop bought so that ingredients used and use by dates can be checked. This is to prevent any problems for children with allergies.
Our nutritious preschool menus below vary according to the season and reflect eating habits apt for the time of year.
We encourage our children to make healthy food choices
Portion sizes – don’t be tempted to give your child large portions, this only leads to overeating, refusal to eat at the next meal and generally creates mealtime trauma, which should be avoided at all costs.
“Remember never to judge your preschool child’s appetite and food intake by adult standards. On average your preschool child is five times younger and smaller than you are, so she will require a lot less food than you do. Small, frequent meals with small, easy-to-eat portions are the secret to a happy, healthy child.” – (Dr I.V. van Heerden, DietDoc)
All of our meals are planned by a nutritionist and freshly cooked on our premises. They are designed to be healthy and nutritionally well balanced. We do not add sugar or salt to any of our meals. We aim to broaden your child’s palate, by introducing food from a range of cultures, with different flavours and textures, using a range of nursery school menu ideas and recipes. A vegetarian option is available daily and fresh fruit or yoghurt is available as an alternative to dessert.
Children are offered milk and water to drink and can access fresh water throughout the day. Older children are encouraged to manage their snack time themselves to develop confidence, independence and choice.
Meal times are a social event, enjoyed with other children and staff. The nursery staff are encouraged to eat with the children and to help them develop healthy eating and social skills. Each day, parents are given information about the food their child has had during the day.
An example of the careful selection of ingredients chosen by our nutritionist:
Bread – use whole wheat, brown or vitamin- and mineral-fortified bread
Margarine – use polyunsaturated, soft or tub margarine
Milk – use full cream milk or low-fat milk if there is a history of heart disease in the family
Fruit – use canned, cooked, raw or dried fruit cut into pieces to make handling easier
Vegetables – use cooked or raw vegetables cut into pieces – try out new vegetables such as cooked broccoli and spinach, but don’t be discouraged if your youngster refuses these vegetables the first few times. It takes time and a more developed palate to enjoy the flavours of most vegetables.
Important Information on Healthy Food
The Children’s Food Trust issued a report in December 2016 based on interviews with parents of four to sixteen-year olds revealing how poorly children across the UK eat. The report highlights the high sugar content of children’s diets and how hard it is to lower these levels once children are older. In addition, figures reveal that in 2014/15, 12 percent of children were obese by age three and 15 percent were considered to be overweight in the UK.
With the recent sugar tax implemented on Friday 6th April 2018, it is evident that as a nation we must be more vigilant in protecting our child’s health and well-being.
These statistics are not new nor are the messages that accompany them, but they serve to reinforce the message that it is important to establish healthy eating patterns in babies and young children so that by the time their food tastes are fully developed they have established good healthy eating patterns. The statistics also highlight the importance of physical activity for young children in the fight against obesity but for the purposes of this article we focus on the role of healthy eating.
We aim to meet the full requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, the Children’s Trust Food and Nutrition Guidelines and those of HEYL (Heathy Early Years London), recently accredited by the HEYL first steps award.
Children are offered a nutritious, healthy balanced diet with the opportunity to try new foods through our menu. Below are an example of our weekly menus.
See our sample nursery menus below – summer menu and winter menuClick To Download
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