Our kitchen holds a five star rating from the Kent County Council's Environmental Health Department, and is reinspected regularly.
Meal and snack times are an important part of the service we offer, and an enjoyable part of the children's day. The purpose of this policy is to inform parents about the food provided to children, how it is prepared, and the nutritional guidelines we follow.
A weekly menu is posted on our noticeboard for you to see what your child will be eating during that particular day. There are four weekly menus which are rotated, and a summer and winter variant. We do try to be flexible with regard to seasonal produce and sometimes parents bring in special treats or a cake when a child has a birthday, so occasionally we will make a change to an item on the menu for an alternative of equal quality.
Cooking and baking simple meals and cakes is enjoyable and instructive for children in the nursery, and we encourage this. Children themselves will sometimes prepare part of the teatime meal, for example fairy cakes, fruit kebabs or pizzas. Cookery activities can incorporate practice in mathematics and self care, for example in measuring or counting ingredients and reinforcing the importance of handwashing, etc. Children also feel a sense of pride in making a meal for their peers, or taking cakes or biscuits home with them.
We can accommodate a variety of diets in the nursery, for example vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, various allergies, and religious specifications. No extra charge is levied for this. Parents' comments and suggestions regarding the food we provide, or their child's preferences, are always welcome.
We have a list of children's allergies and food preferences posted in the nursery kitchen and this is updated regularly for staff to refer to.
Food is prepared on the premises by our permanent cook. In her absence, staff members take over this duty. Staff are provided with health and safety training with regard to food preparation and storage, and all hold a food hygiene qualification. Fridge and freezer temperatures are monitored each day.
We provide breakfast (cereal, porridge, toast etc) for children arriving before 8.15am. Lunch and tea are always two course meals, but lunch is generally more substantial than tea, since many children eat at home in the evenings as well as at nursery. We also serve a mid morning snack of either fruit or breadsticks, crackers etc, with fruit juice, milk or water.
Children are encouraged to drink water throughout the day, and a water cooler is available from which older children can help themselves.
General rules about the meals & the ingredients we purchase.
We don't buy 'economy' ranges of burgers, sausages or other meat products since the quality of the meat they contain can be poor and from questionable sources.
The majority of our meals are homecooked, with frozen or processed foods kept to a minimum.
We serve chips a maximum of once a week.
All our squashes and juices are sugar free.
Fruit juices are heavily diluted to protect children's teeth.
We don't add salt to food, but use flavourings such as herbs and garlic.
We don't add sugar to cereals, etc.
The nursery's shopping is done weekly to ensure a quick turnaround on the storage of food items and to ensure fruit and vegetable products are fresh.
In the light of government guidelines regarding generally poor consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK diet, our aim is that a child attending a full day at nursery will obtain at least the recommended minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and often more.
As far as possible, we avoid GM products and peanut products, although it is not possible to guarantee all purchases are GM or nut free.
Where it is not obvious on a menu that a dish contains vegetables, for example chicken curry, spaghetti bolognese, beef stew, etc parents should be aware that such dishes are always supplemented with mixed vegetables in the sauce so that children receive vegetables at each meal.
Parents' comments about the food provided, and of course their own children's preferences, are always welcome.