Government releases new early years food guidelines and recipes

14/11/2017 - 07:00
New example menus and recipes have been published by the Government to help early years providers plan “healthy and tasty meals for young children.”

The menus and accompanying resources published yesterday (November 13) set out the information for early years settings offering meals and snacks throughout the day.

The resources have been jointly developed by the Department for Education, the Department of Health and Public Health England, with advice from a panel of early years and nutrition experts including the British Nutrition Foundation.

The guidelines and menus have been separated into two documents entitled ‘Guidance’ and ‘Recipes’.

The Government say the menus will be accessible for parents to help them prepare “healthy, balanced meals at home and introduce their child to new foods.”

Minister for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill, said: “A good early education is vital to set every child on the path to fulfilling their full potential, and getting healthy, balanced food during the day is an important part of high-quality childcare.

“Providers can use these menus to create appealing meals for young eaters - which any parent with small children knows can be a challenge.

“I have seen for myself what an important role caterers and kitchen staff have in the settings I’ve been able to visit, so I’m pleased that these new resources can now help them in their work.

The Government is hoping that the example menus will contribute to delivery of its Childhood Obesity Plan by helping early years settings meet the latest government dietary recommendations.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: “We are absolutely committed to giving children the best start to life. We know how important a balanced diet is in shaping a healthy lifestyle and getting this right in early childhood is key.

“These practical tools will help providers to deliver healthy meals in early years settings.”

“This is yet another positive step in our world-leading Childhood Obesity Plan—which includes taxing sugary drinks, helping children to exercise more and cutting sugar and calories in food before it reaches consumers.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, added: “This is an important milestone in introducing healthy balanced meals from a young age.

“With far too many children entering school already overweight or obese, early years settings play an important role in helping children to develop good habits and avoid poor health later in life.

“We hope early years providers embrace this guidance and play their role in supporting the health of future generations.”

The guidelines are available to read and download here.

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