Guidance has been developed to help childcare practitioners provide healthy, balanced and nutritious food and drink for children and young people.

The Children's Food Trust explains, healthy eating habits in the years before school are very important because they influence children's growth, development and academic achievement in later life.

It is also important to consider the needs of children over the age of 5 and young people as they are still growing and have high energy needs. Eating well, growing, cooking, shopping for food and planning menus will support children and young people develop skills needed to be a functioning member of their class, family and community.

Do you have a food and drink code of practice? The Children's Food Trust recommends implementing a code of practice that should include:

  1. A food policy
  2. Communicating with families about their child's diet
  3. Planning varied menus for snacks and meals in advance
  4. Planning meals and snacks to meet national voluntary food and drink guidelines
  5. Catering for the dietary requirements of all children
  6. Having a positive and welcoming eating environment to encourage children to eat well
  7. Ensuring staff are appropriately trained

Additional resources:

The Children's Food Trust have produced 3 online learning courses for early years professionals; aiming to help you provide healthy food, these courses are available through the Learning Network, this is in addition to the Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines and range free resources including autumn/winter and spring/summer recipes, a meal and snack planning checklist and an example food policy already available through their website.

The Caroline Walker Trust has produced a range of resources to provide a simple guide to different meals, snacks and drinks that, on average, provide the amount of energy and other nutrients that infants, children and young people need from the first year of life to 18 years of age.

Eatwell Early Years is a 2 hour interactive training workshop. Whether you work in a nursery school, playgroup or as a childminder in Nottingham City, these sessions have been designed to increase your knowledge around healthy eating and nutrition specifically for the under 5 age group.

A range of Healthy Eating and Cooking with Children books are available to loan from the Early Years 'Book a Book' Service.

For more information on any of the above resources follow the external links and downloads on the right hand side of this page.