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Barleymont Group of Day Nurseries, Preschool, Afterschool and Holiday Club

TEL : 02085995937 / 07595931990

Barleymont Fairlop Montessori Day Nursery  >  Nutrition  >  Nutrition in early years / Allergies / Menus

Nutrition in early years

Why early years nutrition is so important ?

The early years of a child’s life really matter when it comes to lifelong health. What they eat, and the habits they develop around food when they’re young, set the pattern for the rest of their lives.

What we eat can play a critical role in determining our health, whatever our age. The eating patterns established in the first few years of life influence our health during childhood and adulthood.  Encouraging good nutrition during the early years of life is therefore an investment in the health of our population for years to come.

At our nursery we take the food and nutrition of our children very seriously. We believe that Good nutrition is essential during childhood, as it is a time of rapid growth, development and activity. This is also a vital time for healthy tooth development and prevention of decay. General eating habits and patterns are formed in the first few years of life.

We aim to offer a high quality service to the children we care for, We  recognise the need to encourage healthy eating habits from an early age to help children to reach their full potential in terms of growth and development.


  • Well-balanced and nutritious meals are provided for the children.
  • All meals are freshly prepared from raw ingredients in the nursery kitchen.
  • All puddings provided are based on fruit and/or milk.
  • Processed meat products such as sausages, chicken nuggets, burgers and fish bites, if provided, are limited to once a week
  • Healthier cooking methods are used, eg boiling, grilling, steaming, microwaving, stewing, rather than frying.
  • Special diets are respected. Parents will be asked to provide a copy of the diet sheet from a registered dietitian or specific guidance in agreement with the child’s doctor.
  • Cultural dietary habits are respected. Parents should provide details of these.
  • Mealtimes are used as an opportunity to encourage good table manners. For example, whenever possible children and adults eat together.
  • Snacks provided are healthy and nutritious.
  • Sweets and fizzy drinks are not offered.
  • Where possible, snacks are sugar-free to avoid causing damage to teeth.
  • Fresh fruit is regularly offered as a healthy snack.
  • Whole milk or water is provided for children as a drink between meals.
  • Fresh drinking water is available throughout the day for children
  • Children are given 3 meals – Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Tea and 2 snacks – Morning snack & Evening Snack throughout the day.
  • A healthy lifestyle is promoted through a variety of activities including active play, outings, cookery, stories, music, etc.

Water :

Fresh water is available throughout the day for the children to access and drink.

Physical Activity for children

There is good scientific evidence that being physically active is good for our health. For children and young people, being active has a wide range of benefits, for example it:

  • helps to develop physical skills such as agility, balance and coordination;
  • builds up muscle strength and overall fitness;
  • helps them develop social skills;
  • helps them to avoid becoming overweight or obese;
  • improves concentration in school;
  • contributes to a healthy appetite;
  • helps to reduce the risk of ill health in later life.

We offer plenty of indoor and outdoor physical activities for children to be active throughout the day.

Dietary Requirements and Special Diets

We cater for specific dietary requirements of the child as well as most special diets like Vegetarian , Vegan, Halal,. We would discuss in detail each child’s dietary needs with their parents/carers .

Special diets for children with coeliac disease (a gluten-free diet), diabetes or those who need to avoid milk or nuts and all products made from them can be quite complex. Parents should be able to provide a diet sheet about their child’s specific dietary needs which has been prepared by a registered dietician.

Fussy eaters

 It is quite normal for an infant or child to refuse a food occasionally. However, if a child continually refuses food, the parent or carer would be informed. If a child refuses a snack or meal, we will gently encourage them to eat. If they refuse to eat even after gentle encouragement, the following suggestions may be helpful.

  • Remove the food without making a fuss or passing judgement and offer either an alternative or offer some other food at the next meal or snack time.
  • Keeping our attitude friendly and relaxed will help children to feel that eating is a pleasurable way to satisfy hunger rather than a battleground.
  • Small helpings may be better accepted. Second helpings can then be offered if appropriate.
  • we would  not try to bribe children to eat food they do not want with the reward of a pudding or sweet snack.
  • It may be useful to adopt the approach that a food refused is ‘not liked today’. If a food is refused, we will try it again a few days later; changing the form a food is given in may make it more acceptable (eg offering tinned tomato in Bolognese sauce instead of tomato sauce on a pizza) we discuss it with parents different  along with the nursery chef, different alternatives.
  • Consider possible reasons for the food refusal, such as drinking continually throughout the day, or frequent large snacks between meals, as both of these can reduce the appetite for main meals.
  • We would Never force a child to eat.