New food guidelines aimed at increasing nutrition, avoiding too much salt and sugar and reducing obesity in toddlers has been welcomed by the Government.
The School Food Trust has published suggested menus for children aged 1 to 5 in nurseries, pre-schools and those being looked after by childminders. The voluntary spring/summer and autumn/winter menus give breakfast, lunch and snack ideas, promote water and milk being given between meals and advise that fruit juices be watered down.
The guidelines advise young children need to eat little and often, because of their high energy needs and little tummiess, that food shouldn’t be used as a way to reward or punish, and that kids shouldn’t be expected to eat everything on their plate. Also, children shouldn’t be allowed to watch TV or play with toys while eating, or be left alone.
Recent figures show more than one in five children are overweight by the time they join Reception class, and are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or tooth decay.
“Nurseries play a vital role in getting children from all backgrounds to develop good eating habits – but many lack the expert knowledge of what the best food is to serve,” said Children’s Minister Sarah Teather, reports The Telegraph.
“Parents rightly want their children to be eating healthy, nutritional food. Thanks to these voluntary guidelines…we will do just that,” added Sarah.