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Promoting health and hygiene: - Food and drink


Policy statement

Westside Pre-School regards snack and meal times as an important part of the setting's day. Eating represents a social time for children and adults and helps children to learn about healthy eating. We promote healthy eating using a variety of resources and materials. At snack and meal times, we aim to provide nutritious food, which meets the children's individual dietary needs. 



By following these procedures, we aim to promote healthy eating within our setting.

  • Before a child starts to attend the pre-school, we find out from parents their children's dietary needs and preferences, including any allergies.  (See the Managing Children with Allergies policy.)

  • We record information about each child's dietary needs in her/his registration record and parents sign the record to signify that it is correct.

  • We regularly consult with parents to ensure that our records of their children's dietary needs - including any allergies - are up-to-date.  Parents sign the up-dated record to signify that it is correct.

  • We display current information about individual children's dietary needs so that all staff and volunteers are fully informed about them.

  • We implement systems to ensure that children receive only food and drink that is consistent with their dietary needs and preferences as well as their parents' wishes.

  • We provide nutritious food for all snacks, avoiding large quantities of saturated fat, sugar and salt and artificial additives, preservatives and colourings.

  • We include foods from the diet of each of the children's cultural backgrounds, providing children with familiar foods and introducing them to new ones.

  • We take care not to provide food containing nuts or nut products and are especially vigilant where we have a child who has a known allergy to nuts.

  • Through discussion with parents and research reading by staff, we obtain information about the dietary rules of the religious groups, to which children and their parents belong, and of vegetarians and vegans, and about food allergies. We take account of this information in the provision of food and drinks.

  • We require staff to show sensitivity in providing for children's diets and allergies.  Staff do not use a child's diet or allergy as a label for the child or make a child feel singled out because of her/his diet or allergy.

  • We organise meal and snack times so that they are social occasions in which children and staff participate.

  • We use meal and snack times to help children to develop independence through making choices, serving food and drink and feeding themselves.

  • We provide children with utensils that are appropriate for their ages and stages of development and that take account of the eating practices in their cultures.

  • We have fresh drinking water constantly available for the children.  We inform the children about how to obtain the water and that they can ask for or help themselves to water at any time during the day.

  • In order to protect children with food allergies, we discourage children from sharing and swapping their food with one another.


Packed lunches

We ask parents to provide a healthy packed lunch. 

  • An ice pack should be used to ensure perishable contents of packed lunches are kept cool, as the setting does not have access to a large fridge.

  • We inform parents of our policy on healthy eating;

  • We encourage parents to provide sandwiches with a healthy filling, fruit, and milk-based deserts such as yoghurt or crème fraiche where we can only provide cold food from home. We discourage sweet drinks and can provide children with water.

  • We do not allow any nut-based products within children’s lunch boxes e.g. peanut butter sandwiches.

  • We discourage packed lunch contents that consist largely of crisps, processed foods, sweet drinks and sweet products such as cakes or biscuits. We provide children, with plates, cups and cutlery; and

  • We ensure staff sit with children to eat their lunch so that the mealtime is a safe and social occasion.

Legal Framework

  • Regulation (EC) 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs

Further guidance

  • Safer Food, Better Business

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