6.5 Food and drink
We regard snack and meal times as an important part of our day. Eating represents a social time for children and adults, and helps children to learn about healthy eating. At our Pre-School we promote healthy eating. At snack time, we aim to provide nutritious food, which meets the children's individual dietary needs.
We follow these procedures to promote healthy eating in our setting.
§ Before a child starts to attend the setting, we ask their parents about their dietary needs and preferences, including any allergies. (See the Managing Children who are Sick, Infectious or with Allergies Policy.)
§ We record information about each child's dietary needs in the Registration Form and parents sign the form to signify that it is correct.
§ We regularly consult with parents to ensure that our records of their children's dietary needs – including any allergies - are up-to-date.
§ We display current information about individual children's dietary needs so that all our staff and volunteers are fully informed about them.
§ We implement systems to ensure that children receive only food and drink that is consistent with their dietary needs and cultural preferences and wishes
§ We display information about what we have provided for snack for parents to view.
§ We provide nutritious food for snacks, avoiding large quantities of saturated fat, sugar and salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings.
§ We include foods from the diet of each of the children's cultural backgrounds, providing children with familiar foods and introducing them to new ones.
§ We take care not to provide food containing nuts or nut products and we are especially vigilant where we have a child who has a known allergy to nuts.
§ Through discussion with parents and research reading, we obtain information about the dietary rules of the religious groups to which children and their parents belong, and of vegetarians and vegans, as well as about food allergies. We take account of this information in the provision of food and drinks.
§ We show sensitivity in providing for children's diets and allergies. We do not use a child's diet or allergy as a label for the child, or make a child feel singled out because of her/his diet or allergy.
§ We organise snack times so that they are social occasions in which children and adults participate.
§ We use snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink and feeding themselves.
§ We provide children with utensils that are appropriate for their ages and stages of development and that take account of the eating practices in their cultures.
§ We ask that children bring a bottle of plain water with them to each session (this cannot contain juice or squash), so that they can help themselves at all times.
§ We inform parents who provide packed lunch for their children about the storage facilities available in our setting.
§ We give parents who provide food for their children information about suitable containers for food.
§ In order to protect children with food allergies, we discourage children from sharing and swapping their food with one another.
§ For young children who drink milk, we provide semi-skimmed.
Parents are aware that we cannot provide cooked meals and children are required to bring packed lunches.
§ Parents are made aware that we do not have facilities to refrigerate or heat up lunches. They are advised to use an ice pack to keep food cool;
§ We inform parents of our policy on healthy eating;
§ We encourage parents to provide sandwiches with a healthy filling, fruit, and milk based deserts, such as yoghurt or crème fraiche. We discourage sweet drinks.
§ We discourage packed lunch contents that consist largely of crisps, processed foods, sweet drinks and sweet products such as cakes or biscuits. We reserve the right to return this food to the parent as a last resort;
§ We ensure that adults sit with children to eat their lunch so that the mealtime is a social occasion.