Promote and support an ongoing collaborative approach to children’s physical well-being and health within our centre community. An important aspect of this is creating a sustainable healthy eating environment which is safe and informative for all involved.
Developing and sustaining healthy eating behaviours in children is an integral part of the daily curriculum and experiences and education offered to children and their families should reflect this.
We want to support and encourage parents and whãnau to make healthy food choices for their children so that together we can teach children healthy eating behaviours to stay healthy and grow. Food offered should provide children with important nutrients and energy to be active.
- Nut free zone
- In the interest of eliminating risk to children with nut allergies the centre is a nut free zone. Nut allergies are very common and can cause a severe reaction (sometimes anaphylactic) amongst young children. If a mistake occurs and any child brings food containing nuts, including sandwiches containing nut spread, it will be immediately removed from the lunchbox and stored in a safe area for collection. Upon collection the reason for this will be discussed. Should a child have special dietary requirements or concerns, please discuss these with the Centre Manager and a suitable plan to deal with such issues can be devised.
- Food allergies and intolerances will be shared responsibility of the child’s family and centre. On enrolment we ask parents/caregivers to share with us any information regarding children’s allergies or intolerances. In individual cases it may be necessary to have a management plan in place.
- The names and photos of children with food allergies are displayed in the kai area for teachers to be aware of.
- A fridge is available ensuring all food is stored in a safe and hygienic manner.
- Foods provided in heatable containers will be heated for children using the microwave, at lunchtimes only. Nursery food will be heated as appropriate.
- All lunches should be brought in a clearly named lunchbox.
- All children and staff wash hands before kai time.
- A staff member will stay with children at all times during kai times. We see kai time as a wonderful opportunity to promote relationships, language, independence and self help skills.
- Any records of food prepared or given out by teachers are kept for inspection for at least 3 months (see regulations) after the food is served.
Food choices – Lunch box guidelines
•Parents are strongly encouraged to provide simple nutritious food such as fruit, sandwiches, yoghurt, muffins, crackers, vegetables, cheese, scones, pikelets and rice crackers, leftover meals.
•In the interest of promoting healthy eating habits children are asked to keep lollies, chocolate bars, roll ups, and highly coloured corn snacks such as Twisties, Cheezels, Burger Rings, Rashuns, Cheese Balls, and Cruncheese at home. If the lunchbox contains any of these foods a friendly reminder will be sent home with such items to eat at home.
•In the preschool a shared fruit basket is offered to the children at morning tea and afternoon tea. Each child is encouraged to bring a piece of fruit each session to add to this selection and the centre will provide additional fruit as required. Sharing of the fruit basket will meet guidelines for safe food handling practices at all times. During morning and afternoon tea children can access food from their own lunch box as well.
•Health professionals state that water is the ideal drink for children, to support this water is available at all times for children to drink. Cups are provided for children to access this water and teachers will ensure children have water with every meal.
•In the event of a child having insufficient food, the centre will supplement using additional food such as crackers, sandwiches or fruit and this will be recorded.
Birthday and celebration foods
If you wish to bring a cake or other healthy snack alternative to share for a birthday or special occasion please see a staff member and we would be happy to accommodate this.
Food and nutrition Education
As a community of learners we will strive to provide ongoing opportunities to strengthen communities’ engagement in food and nutrition activities/experiences. This policy along with supporting information from the Ministry of Health will be given to children and their families on enrolment so that healthy eating guidelines are made clear from the beginning.
The centre will offer information around healthy eating through a variety of ways to children and their families. Including healthy recipes shared through newsletters, wall displays, pamphlets published by the Ministry of Health, ‘workshop’ type evenings. Practical healthy recipe ideas from families will be encouraged to be shared. The parent library will contain a variety of healthy food recipes and ideas.
Cooking and food preparation are a regular part of the programme with children and this provides a further opportunity to provide healthy eating practices. It is also a time to learn about and celebrate meals/food from other cultures.
An edible garden which grows a variety of vegetables/fruit will be regularly cared for by the children and teachers. Food grown provides an ideal base to make nutritious snacks/meals with the children.