Diet is central to health and therefore children’s diet is an important influence on their health now and in the future. It is important that we promote health and demonstrate a positive approach with regards to food and healthy eating patterns. This is a key part of our work to support “Every Child Matters” and to prepare the children for their lives ahead.
Our aim is to foster and develop a positive “whole” nursery approach to healthy eating and to enable and encourage the nutritional health and wellbeing of the early year’s community.
Our objective is to ensure the process of a robust management of change to guarantee that our nurseries provide and continue to provide healthy delicious multicultural fresh food and a nutritionally balanced diet.
We acknowledge the importance of children understanding what they eat and why they eat the food that they do, also the partnership the chefs, staff and the children have. After all, the children’s opinion on what they eat has to be the primary consideration as no matter how healthy the food is, if the children do not eat it then we are missing the point. Asking them what they like, how they found the food and creating weekly cooking activities for them with the chefs and garden activities with their teachers where they can grow herbs and vegetables is all equally paramount to this project.
The children’s primary educators are their parents and working in collaboration with them we can together educate them to achieve great things and lead the way for when it is their turn to become parents and have children of their own.
Together we can make a difference!
All our meals are freshly prepared on the premises here at Peques, we only use fresh produce, even the vegetables are fresh. Our kitchens ALL have 5 star ratings set by the Environmental Health Agency. Our Nursery Chefs along with our Nursery Managers and Kitchen Supervisor who is and has been an expert in the running of healthy nursery kitchens for the past 8 years have devised mouth-watering menus for the children that are prepared using the correct nutritional balance of protein, carbohydrate, vegetables and dairy produce. We have 4 menus which we rotate weekly and are very varied, covering all cultures from around the world predominantly the Mediterranean. We aim to cater for a variety of different families with different cultural and religious backgrounds and of course children with food allergies and intolerances. Please speak to the Nursery Manager, Chef or Kitchen Supervisor if he is present at the nursery at the time of your visit as they will be very happy to help you.
Every day we have more vegetarian children and children with special nutrition requirements, for that reason and for the purpose of inclusion, we have a GREEN day once a week, on this day we all have tasty vegetarian food and children as well as staff really enjoy it.
Our Peques Kitchen Supervisor trained through the Grub for Life Project has extensive years of experience cooking and training chefs for many other Day Care establishments in the country. We decided it was time now to move forward, we had a vision to link the nutrition to the curriculum and get everyone on board including the children and so I began a project of my own. In a nutshell no truer words spoken by Jamie Oliver "If we can get gardens, school food and the curriculum working together, we've got a really potent, beautiful and inspirational catalyst for change". This project would involve inaugurating a Kitchen Supervisor to oversee the Peques Kitchens and to educate ALL the staff on the importance of Nutrition in infancy. We have also become a member of the Jamie Oliver Kitchen Garden Project and embarked on a garden project of our own with the children teaching them the relationship between the foods they eat and where it comes from. The chefs also do food activities with the children every week which the children absolutely love and are so proud to take home the cakes or whatever they have made that day to show their parents.
The Kitchen Supervisor’s role has been to train our now chefs and staff to develop and enhance their knowledge in the importance of nutrition for children and to manage the kitchen staff in their own roles regarding all the necessary paperwork, health and safety regulations, portion control and last but by no means least producing a delicious balanced diet for the children that also looks great. This seemed like a difficult task at first although proved an absolute pleasure as everyone was as excited as us about the project and in no time at all the entire Peques Team were all on board. The positive attitude of our staff especially our chefs instructed by the Kitchen Supervisor became a dream come true and I am proud to say that we as a team have taken the nurseries to a new and innovative level where we are all winners.
Please see below some interesting links:
How do we manage the children’s allergies & intolerances?
We understand that having a child with an allergy or allergies is a very worrying situation for any parent when having to choose a nursery, as of course it is a massive responsibility as the child’s wellbeing is in the hands of the setting. Here at Peques we take this very seriously and are here to help and support you and your child through their daily routine and specific dietary requirements.
In recent years, we have seen an increase in children with varied and life threatening allergies and uncomfortable intolerances and we take great pride in the system that we have put in place.
How do we work with allergies:
Once it has come to our attention that a child suffers from an allergy or intolerance, usually through the All About Me form that the parents complete whilst settling their child into the setting and on the initial registration form then the following protocol is implemented:
- A meeting is scheduled with the Parents, Nursery Manager, Kitchen Supervisor and child’s allocated Key Person, to discuss the relevant allergies or intolerances. At this meeting a Health care Plan will be completed to be stored in the nursery’s Health Care Plan Folder as well as in the child’s individual folder.
- The child’s photo alongside the allergy or intolerance is displayed in the kitchen as well as in the dining area.
- This system requires full supervision from Chefs as well as teaching staff having to sign paperwork logs verifying the name and the allergy of the child in question before serving the meal on a colour coded plate.
- Allergies, intolerances and any other special dietary requirements are always served to the relevant children first.
All medication provided by parents is placed in the office in a medical storage box. The children have their own individual bags that are labelled clearly with their name and the expiry date of the medicine. In the case of a child having a severe or life threatening illness their medication is all noted in a Health Care Plan of the child inside and in clear view and ALL staff will be made aware of the relevant protocol for that child. For more information, please speak to the manager the day of your show round visit.
For all babies under the age of 1 year old we work in collaboration with the parents and their routines. From 3-6 months we give fresh fruit and vegetables which are made into a puree. Then from 6 months to 1 year the puree evolves into a lumpier consistency and fish and meat is introduced gradually. Once the baby reaches 1 year old and moves to the next group they will resume the usual menu as the other children. All babies wean at different stages and so their weaning is tailored to their individual needs and their parents’ wishes. For formula milk and breast milk storage we follow the Department of Health and FSA Guidelines for preparing and storing infant formula.
Staff is encouraged to sit and eat with the children as role models and to assist children who might need help. We have child friendly serving dishes and children help themselves to their lunch and supper and also to their own drinks; this is of paramount importance as they can choose what they want and this gives them the independence and a sense of self confidence which is important for their self-esteem. Their mealtimes are like an extension from home, sitting down with their friends and enjoying their food together. We have a snack bar which is like a buffet that the Pre–School children can access as and when they wish which consists of fruit and vegetables. The younger children are seated at a table and serve themselves from a plate.
All meals are homemade from scratch on the premises either, roasted, grilled or cooked on the hob and food is not fried in any of our nurseries. We remove all visible fat, bones and skin before cooking. We have a NO added salt policy and sugar is kept to an absolute minimum and we use natural ingredients such as fresh pure fruit juice to sweeten our puddings.
Children explore food through many ways, they might go to the local shops and look at the different fruit and vegetables and even buy some. Children will be able to smell them, buy the food and then cook it with their group back at the nursery. Children are given the opportunity to explore different types of food from a variety of cultures and are encouraged to try new foods, to see whether or not they like it.
We are celebrating our newly created menus and their well-balanced ingredients by making a book which contains all the Peques Group mouth-watering dishes. This book has photos of the meals, ingredients and the nutritional content of each food group. You can view our e-book "A HEALTHY WAY TO GROW".
Our Birthday Cakes service
Over the years parents have always bought cakes to bring to the nursery for the children to celebrate. Increasingly we have more and more parents asking the nursery not to give their children shop bought cakes due to the copious amount of sugar that they contain, this has proved quite challenging and has put the teachers in a very difficult position as children like to have what their peers eat and do not like to feel left out.
Finally we decided to offer parents the possibility to have their children's birthday cakes made by our chefs due to the healthy ingredients used and therefore all children would have the opportunity to eat, be healthy and enjoy the delicious cakes. This is not the only option as parents can also bake their own cakes as long as they pledge to not have used nuts or excess sugar in the ingredients. Shop bought cakes whilst not encouraged are also accepted although if deemed unsuitable they are given to the children to take home for their parents to take the ultimate decision on whether or not they are allowed to eat it.
This service has proven very successful and there is no price tag except for a voluntary donation that in turn is used for team building or to help a family in need.
Needless to say that photos and videos are taken during the birthday cake celebration and passed on to the parents and also added to the child’s on-line Learning Journal. This is a great opportunity to share the moment with their chosen loved ones. Please feel free to come in and join us to celebrate such an important occasion.