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Healthy Eating

At Tots and Time Out and Bright Beginnings we believe that mealtimes should be happy, social occasions for children and staff alike. We promote shared, enjoyable positive interactions at these times. We are committed to offering children healthy, nutritious and balanced meals and snacks which meet individual needs and requirements. 

We believe that nutritious food and drink are essential for children’s wellbeing. We will encourage children to gain an understanding of how food and water is essential for growth. Our aim is to meet the dietary and religious requirements to promote children’s healthy growth and development. This policy is in place to promote this.


We will ensure that:

  • Balanced and healthy daily snacks are provided for children at 10am and 3pm

  • Fresh drinking water is always available and accessible. It is frequently offered to children and babies and intake is monitored. In hot weather, staff will encourage children to drink more water to keep them hydrated.

  • Whole, pasteurised milk will also be provided for the children. In line with East Sussex Guidelines and to promote good dental health/hygiene we do not provide juice for the children and we encourage parents to only provide water in their child’s nursery cup.

  • School Dinners are delivered in by a company called Zebedees who ensure they are delivering a daily nutritious and healthy 2 course meal for the children.

  • All allergens are displayed alongside the menus to show the contents of each meal

  • Individual dietary requirements are respected. We gather information from parents regarding their children’s dietary needs, including any special dietary requirements, preferences and food allergies that a child has and any special health requirements, before a child starts or joins the nursery. Where there is a food allergy we will ask for a letter from the child’s doctor or Dietician. Where appropriate, we will carry out a risk assessment in the case of allergies and we may seek further advice in order to best support the child and ensure that they are provided with nutritional alternatives.

  • We give careful consideration to seating to avoid cross contamination of food from child to child. Where appropriate, an adult will sit with children during meals to ensure safety and minimise risks. Where appropriate, age/stage discussions will also take place with all children about allergies and potential risks to make them aware of the dangers of sharing certain foods 

  • Staff show sensitivity in providing for children’s diets and allergies. They 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

  • Staff set a good example and eat with the children and show good table manners. Meal and snack times are organised so that they are social occasions in which children and staff participate in small groups. During meals and snack times children are encouraged to use their manners and say 'please' and 'thank you' and conversation is encouraged 

  • Staff use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink, and feeding themselves

  • Staff support children to make healthy choices and understand the need for healthy eating

  • Any child who shows signs of distress at being faced with a meal he/she does not like will have his/her food removed without any fuss. If a child does not finish his/her first course, he/she will still be given a helping of dessert

  • Children who refuse to eat at the mealtime are offered food later in the day

  • Children are given time to eat at their own pace and not rushed

  • Quantities offered take account of the ages of the children being catered for in line with recommended portion sizes for babies and young children

  • We promote positive attitudes to healthy eating through play opportunities and discussions

  • The nursery provides parents with daily written records of feeding routines for all children under 3. 

  • No child is ever left alone when eating/drinking to minimise the risk of choking

  • All staff who prepare and handle food are competent to do so and receive training in food hygiene which is updated every three years

  • In the very unlikely event of any food poisoning affecting two or more children on the premises, whether or not this may arise from food offered at the nursery, we will inform Ofsted as soon as reasonably practical and in all cases within 14 days. We will also inform the relevant health agencies and follow all advice given.  


  • We celebrate a wide range of festivals and encourage the children to try the foods of the country. For example, for Chinese New Year, we will offer noodles and prawn crackers.

  • We encourage ‘fussy eaters’ to explore new foods during messy play. For example, we use jelly, beans, rice and pasta in our everyday play.

  • We use cooking activities to teach the children about nutrition and healthy eating.

  • We discourage adults within the setting from eating unhealthy foods whilst in the environment and especially in front of the children.

  • Staff support children to make healthy choices and understand the need for healthy eating.

  • Cultural differences in eating habits are always respected.

  • We will sometimes celebrate special occasions such as birthdays with the occasional treat of foods such as cake, sweets or biscuits. These will be given at mealtimes to prevent tooth decay and not spoil the child’s appetite. Where we have frequent birthdays and celebrations, we consider other alternatives such as celebrating through smiles and praise, stickers and badges, choosing a favourite story, becoming a special helper, playing a party game, dancing and/or singing their favourite song.

  • We do allow parents to bring in cakes on special occasions. We ensure that all food brought in from parents meets the above and health and safety requirements and ingredients that are listed within the Food Information for Consumers (FIR) 2014 and detailed in the allergens policy and procedure.


High risk choking foods

We have a strict policy in place with foods that are a high choking risk to young children and ask that the following foods are cut in to halves lengthways to make them safer to eat;

  • Grapes 

  • Cocktail Sausages 

  • Cherry tomatoes 

  • Olives 

Our Baby Unit Staff have helpful information and knowledge for parents on weaning and nutrition. We also promote Breastfeeding and will always accommodate mothers that need to breastfeed their baby whilst they are in our care.

We strongly encourage that children with packed lunches are provided with healthy, balanced meals. We are able to offer advice to Parents regarding 'Healthy Eating' and give helpful leaflets on Lunchbox ideas. We discourage too many ‘treats’ in lunchboxes and ask that parents limit these. 

This policy was adopted on

Signed on behalf of the nursery

Date for review

July 2020


July 2021

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