Positive Attitudes to Healthy Eating

At Little Cubs we are committed to encouraging and developing positive attitudes towards food and a healthy diet.

Promoting a healthy life style is integral to our curriculum and we recognise the importance of offering children

the opportunity to make informed choices about what, when, where and why they eat. As a setting we

endorse fresh, local food and we know that food is fundamental to the quality of a child’s life; not just in providing essential

nutrition but in communicating and sharing positive values, attitudes and experiences with each other.

We believe that adults (staff, parents and carers) should be good role models and should support the children

in understanding how balanced nutrition contributes to a person’s health, happiness and general well-being.

Little Cubs Healthy Eating Policy

Little Cubs regards snack and meal times as an important part of the setting's session/day. Eating represents a social time for children and adults and helps children to learn about healthy eating.

Aim

  • At snack time, we aim to provide nutritious food, which meets the children's individual dietary needs. We aim to meet the full requirements of The National Standards for Day Care on Food and Drink (Standard 8).
Methods
  • Before a child starts to attend the setting, we find out from parents their children's dietary needs and preferences, including any allergies.
  • We record information about each child's dietary needs in her/his registration record and parents sign the record 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 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 preferences as well as their parents' wishes.
  • 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 are especially vigilant where we have a child who has a known allergy to nuts.
  • Through discussion with parents and research reading by staff, we obtain information about the dietary rules of religious groups, to which children and their parents belong, and of vegetarians and vegans, and about food allergies. We take account of this information in the provision of food and drinks.
  • We require staff to show sensitivity in providing for children's diets and allergies. Staff members 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 meal and snack times so that they are social occasions in which children and staff participate.
  • We use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink and feeding themselves.
  • We have fresh drinking water constantly available for the children. We inform the children about how to obtain the water and that they can ask for water at any time during the session/day.
  • We inform parents who provide food for their children about the storage facilities available in the setting.
  • In order to protect children with food allergies, we have rules about children sharing and swapping their food with one another.
  • For children who drink milk, we provide whole pasteurised milk.

Packed lunches

  • Inform parents of our policy on healthy eating;
  • Encourage parents to provide sandwiches with a healthy filling, fruit, and milk based deserts such as yoghurt.
  • Discourage packed lunch contents that consist largely of crisps, processed foods, sweet drinks and sweet products such as cakes or biscuits
  • Ensure staff sit with children to eat their lunch so that the mealtime is a social occasion.

Eating the Right Amount

Eating the right amount

Food and drink portion sizes in supermarkets and restaurants have increased in recent years, and there’s evidence that we’re also eating bigger servings at home too – this may be contributing to the rise in being overweight and even obesity among young children. But how much food do young children actually need? There’s very little guidance available, so parents and carers often have to rely on their own judgement.


Some parents say that their child simply stops eating when they’ve had enough, while others find their little one will carry on eating and eating until they’re told to stop.  All children are different and your child may need different amounts of food depending on how they’re feeling or what they’ve been doing on a particular day – for example, a child who’s been running around will need more food than one who isn’t feeling very well.


Helping children understand when they feel full

What is really important is to help children recognise what it feels like when they’re hungry, and, more importantly, when they’re full.  There is some evidence that very young children (under 2 years) will eat what they need and no more – whatever portion size they’ve been given – whereas older children might eat more than they need if they’re given a bigger helping.  It seems as if the older children get, the less they’re able to tell if they’ve had enough food or not. Making a child finish everything on their plate, or allowing them to ‘graze’ on food all day seems to make matters worse.

There are a number of things parents and carers can do to help children pay attention to their feelings of fullness and hunger:

Encourage your child to eat slowly. It can take our brains a while to register what we’ve eaten, so if you’re having more than one course, leave a break before offering pudding.  Have regular meals at set times and allow two or three snacks between meals rather than having food available all day.  Never make your child finish everything on their plate – it may make them uncomfortably full and put them off food in future.

Some researchers have found that children will eat the right amount if they are allowed to serve themselves – although that may need some supervision for little ones!  Remember that children’s stomachs are smaller than adults (and younger children’s are smaller than their older siblings), so don’t expect the whole family to eat the same amount.  The best plan is for the parent or carer to decide the ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of food, and for the child to determine ‘how much’. If there’s a choice of healthy foods on offer, most children won’t over-eat.


Making healthy choices and exploring new foods

Children are more likely to try new foods if they’re part the preparation process – involve your child in helping with meals and make them feel that their contribution is valuable – choosing ingredients, helping to cook, laying the table and even washing the dishes can all be fun for litte ones.  Similarly, helping children to feel as if they are ‘in charge’ of their own meal is a great way to encourage them to be adventurous and try out new foods – providing them with things to scatter, sprinkle or add to their plate gives children a sense of control over their food.

Sitting down together around the table is a great opportunity to talk about what you’re eating, and discuss how things taste – but even if you’re just preparing your child’s lunchbox, you can still help them to make healthy choices.

Ideally, a lunchbox should contain a source of starch and protein, a piece of fruit and a drink – but you can get as creative as you like. Try wraps or a slice of quiche or pizza instead of a sandwich, or branch out with pasta, couscous or rice salad. Cut up fruit, offer an easy-to-eat portion of grapes, or cut up carrot, pepper or cucumber sticks with a favourite dip.

Choosing healthier snacks

There are lots of ways to help your kids have a healthier snack whether on the go or at home. Fresh fruit and veg are always a great choice for a snack. But sometimes our kids want other types of snacks, especially those in packages!

So to help you out, we're suggesting a handy tip when buying packaged snacks, look for '100kcals, two a day max'. It's to help you make quick decisions on packaged snacks when faced with lots of choice. It's not about calorie counting for the kids.

Parents have asked us for suggestions of what 100kcal packaged snacks look like. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Malt loaf slice, Lower-fat, lower-sugar fromage frais, Fresh or tinned fruit salad, Chopped vegetables and lower-fat hummus, Plain rice cakes or crackers with lower-fat cheese, Sugar-free jelly, One crumpet One scotch pancake

Remember to always check the label as products may vary.

How to check for 100 calories

You can buy snacks that are 100 calories and lower in sugar. Many products have traffic light labels on the front of the pack.

The calories are included on the far left-hand side of the label. Choose snacks with more greens and ambers on the label, and cut down on snacks that show any reds.

Not all packaged food has traffic light labels, but you can find out what you need to know about your snacks with the free Food Scanner app.

DIY snacks

You can also save money by preparing healthy snacks yourself. Fresh, tinned or frozen fruit and vegetables are always the best choice for a snack — check out our great snack ideas your kids will love.

Change 4 Life

Busy lives can mean we’re a lot less active and a lot more likely to eat food that isn’t good for us. But with Change4Life on your side, you can make small changes that lead to a happier, healthier future – for you and your family.  If you're buying packaged snacks for your kids, remember to look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max! All you need to know about 5 A Day for the whole family — portion sizes, top tips, and what fruit and veg count.

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Jamie's Food Revolution

Access to good, fresh, nutritious food is every child’s human right. It’s easy to agree with this, but the reality is that an astounding 41 million children under the age of five are overweight or obese. Jamie is calling on us all to join a global Food Revolution in order to provoke debate and inspire real, meaningful, positive change in the way our children access, consume and understand food.

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The Children's Food Trust

The Children’s Food Trust shared the skills, knowledge and confidence to cook from scratch, helping anyone who provides food for children to do a great job and encouraging industry to help families make better food choices. Every child has a right to nutritious food. When children eat better, they do better. The charity existed because by getting children eating well today, we created the healthier adults of tomorrow. 

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