Food is prepared from scratch on the premises from fresh ingredients. The emphasis is on healthy vegetarian food plus some fish, incorporating multicultural provision and special diets. We use organic dairy products, fruit and vegetables as available.
The weekly menus are multi-cultural and include a wide range of foods. We have taken part in the Eat Better Start Better initiative in Hackney to meet the Voluntary Food Guidelines for Early Years Settings. This outlines the balance of food groups in each meal and across a week, aiming to ensure variety and work against selective eating. We add little or no salt to children’s food. We can cater for special diets in partnership with parents / carers. We aim to have organic dairy products and fruit and vegetables as they are available, our food is not all organic.
Meals aim to be like family occasions; staff sit with children in small groups and engage in conversation. We encourage children to try different foods, in a positive food environment, where they are allowed to make choices about what they eat and how much they eat. Children are supported to feed themselves, to use cutlery and open cups or free flowing beakers for the youngest.
Children are encouraged to serve each other and themselves. There is a focus on table manners and hygiene. After lunch, all children in the 2+ and 3+ rooms are helped to clean their teeth.
Children in all the rooms have access to water throughout the day, and have a choice of milk or water at snack times.
Food is prepared by our cook Ann. Ann has a Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene.
learning about food
We learn about food in a variety of ways. As well as the direct experience of eating a varied diet in a social setting at Minihome, we grow food from seed as an activity for the children from Toddler room upwards. This allows children to experience the wonder of watching the transformation of a tiny seed into something we can all eat.
In the process they learn how to nurture a plant and what it needs to grow. They are also often much more keen to eat a bean that they have grown themselves, than one that has come from a shop.
Each year we have had varied success with tomatoes, potatoes, runner beans, spring onions, lettuces, beetroot, carrots and squash!
We also learn about cooking and preparing food. From toddler room onwards, children go shopping for ingredients, and then make a range of dishes including the following:
Fruit salad, potato salad, biscuits, scones, cakes and bread, pizza, smoothies, fruit and cheese kebabs, spring rolls, samosas, cheesecake and apple crumble.
The Children's Food Trust offer their thoughts on helping Fussy Eaters.
For advice on feeding babies under one year old and older children The Caroline Walker Trust has some useful downloads [pdf]: