Healthy food? Child's play...Child's Play nursery in Newcastle is a great example of what food in nurseries should be like. Described by one of the judges in the Nursery Food Awards as having “the best food policy I’ve ever seen," the nursery uses organic food as much as possible and integrates learning about healthy eating into everything the children do.
The food policy is fairly straightforward – it aims to provide "the freshest, most nutritious and best quality food we possibly can". But as Deputy Manager Diane Gregory explains it goes further than that. "We serve a varied diet with meat, fish, potatoes, rice, pasta, dairy products and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and we use organic food where possible, but our approach goes deeper than that. Mealtimes are seen as an educational and social experience, and we get the kids involved peeling the fruit or setting the table, as well as talking about the food and their sensory experience of it."
The children are encouraged not only to eat good food, but to learn to enjoy
their food as well. "We always have an adult eating with them, talking about the food and encouraging them to try new things – the kids learn table manners, and we're even finding some will go home and introduce new vegetables to their families," Diane explains.
This isn't the only communication about food that parents get though. Child's Play also supplies them with a full set of menus, a set of ingredients for each meal and a breakdown of the nutritional balance of each week’s menu, and parents were involved in writing the food policy, which itself is actively used, updated and referred to.
"Food in general is such a big issue," concludes Diane. "The more it's done properly, the more we can get new parents and young children beginning on healthy eating, then the better – and healthier – our future will be. We've got a long way to go, yes, but kids are interested in food. If you go about it the right way they you can get them eating healthy good food and avoid fussy eating."
All children deserve the healthy, positive experience of food that kids at Child's Play experience. Support our campaign by signing the petition, and contacting your new MP today.