This setting has achieved their Food for Life Early Years Award. This means they have menus that demonstrate their compliance with the national standards or guidelines on food and nutrition, grow, cook and enjoy fresh, healthy food and have links with farms or local food businesses. They also make efforts to actively engage parents, carers and the wider community in their growing, cooking and farm visits.
- The food we provide meets Food for Life Catering Mark bronze standards (or we are working towards this separately).
- Our menus and snacks demonstrate compliance with the Voluntary Food and Drinks nutritional guidelines for Early Years Settings.
- We make sure that at least 75% of dishes on our menu are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients.
- All our meat is Farm Assured, to show it is from farms which satisfy UK animal welfare standards.
- We do not buy fish on the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) 'Fish to avoid' list.
- We use eggs from free range hens.
- Our food does not contain any undesirable additives or trans fats present due to food processing.
- No genetically modified (GM) ingredients are used in our food.
- Drinking water is prominently available.
- Our menus are seasonal and we highlight in-season produce.
- Information is on display about where our food is produced (food provenance).
- Menus provide for all dietary and cultural needs.
- We verify that all our suppliers apply appropriate food safety standards.
- We support our cooks and catering staff with skills training in fresh food preparation and the food quality standards.
Food Leadership and Food Culture
- Our food policy sets out how we intend to involve our children, parents, carers, staff and kitchen team in working towards and upholding the Food for Life Early Years Award criteria, to give every child in our care the best possible start to their food journey.
- We link to Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative standards.
- We follow current Department of Health and Start4life guidelines.
- We signpost eligible families to the Healthy Start scheme where this may be appropriate.
- We encourage all parents and carers to give their children vitamin drops in line with current policy.
- We signpost families to oral health improvement programmes, and oral health advice.
- We consult with children, parents and staff when planning our menus and provide guidance on home-provided food.
- We ensure staff always eat with our children and act as positive role models during meals and /or snack.
- We present our food attractively and encourage children to develop an interest and enjoyment of food through stimulating their senses.
- We encourage children's independence in choosing and eating meals and / or snacks.
- We design and make food-related artwork and decorate our dining areas.
- We support our cooks and catering staff to access training and encourage them to interact with the children, parents, carers and staff.
- We use the topics of healthy and sustainable food as a theme for activities to support all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) educational framework.
- We grow food with the children using safe organic methods and give them an opportunity to eat fruits, vegetables and herbs they have grown.
- We provide cooking sessions for children that promote healthy recipes with vegetables and fruits, including those we have grown.
- We have links with farms and/or local food businesses.
Community, Partnerships and Parental Engagement
- We celebrate diversity and include food related activities to celebrate multicultural festivals and events and different cultures. This is done throughout the year for our children, parents and the wider community.
- We make efforts to actively engage parents, carers and the wider community in our growing, cooking activities and farm links activities.
- We take every opportunity to encourage children and families to taste and talk about a variety of foods including seasonal vegetables and fruits.
- We keep parents and carers informed of Food for Life activities and invite them to attend meal and/ or snack times.
- We share Food for Life learning with other early years settings and schools in our local area.
- We work to strengthen links between early years and schools by encouraging food related activities.
- We work in partnership with local authorities to engage parents, carers and their children in oral health improvement programmes.
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