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Nurseries

Why Plan Your Menus?

In January 2012 the School Fund Trust, now the Children’s Food Trust, introduced a set of Food and Drink guidelines for early years settings in England.  The guidelines, whilst currently voluntary, detail how often, how much, and which types of food should be provided for children aged 1 – 5 years.  It also lists food and ingredients that need to be limited or avoided for the menu a a whole and for individual meals and snacks.  By adopting these guidelines you will help to ensure that the nutritional requirements of children in your care are met.

Menu Matters can help

Menu Matters can help by tailoring a package to suit your needs, whether that is a basic menu health check, or a complete menu design service.

Menu Matters can

  • Undertake to check your menus against the guidelines
  • Advise you of any changes that you may need to make
  • Endorse menus with a Certificate of Confirmity and provide literature supporting your menus, to pass on to parents, and to help you respond to queries or comments that you may receive from parents
  • Furthermore, at your request we can undertake a full menu analysis to provide detailed costs, as well as a weekly shopping list, thus giving you the opportunity to explore ingredients whilst improving quality
  • Or.. take the hassle out of menu planning and provide a ready made package


Benefits for children attending your nursery

  • A guarantee that while attending nursery they receive a diet that fulfils their nutritional requirements
  • The encouragement of healthy food choices as they grow
  • Better behaviourial aspects-there is significant current interest in whether diet can influence children’s behaviour and ability to learn and concentrate. Overall, research in this area suggests that a good, varied diet is the best way to ensure optimal mental and behavioural performance in children.
  • The promotion of more effective learning – the “Children of the 90’s longitudinal study carried out by the Institute of Education at the University of Bristol, which is following more than 14,000 families with babies born between April 1991 and December 1992, showed that children who ate a diet of “junk” food(high in fat and sugar eg crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks,highly processed food, and takeaways) at the age of three made poorer progress than average at school between the ages of six and ten.


Benefits for nursery owners

  • The ability to reassure parents that, whilst in your care,their child’s nutritional needs are met
  • The promotion of your business as a healthy-eating establishment.
  • The distinct possibility of reduced catering costs

Case Study

In a recent study undertaken by Menu Matters a 3 week menu cycle was created to meet the guidelines: The average ingredient costs were approximately £1.84 per day per child, based on average supermarket prices (March 2015)

A nursery menu was developed to provide the following:

  • A 3 WEEK SPRING / SUMMER MENU that adopts the guidance for the under 5’s in childcare set by the Children’s Food Trust.
  • RECIPES THAT ARE SIMPLE TO PREPARE, from ingredients readily available in Supermarkets.
    • There are a wide variety of dishes, with key nutrients being supplied through numerous different ingredient sources that are likely to appeal to children. It has meat, fish and vegetarian choices, with cultural dishes along side established favourites and regional specialities.
    • Preparation and cooking requirement for tea and snack recipes has been kept to a minimum where time and resource may be an issue.
  • A SHOPPING LIST was provided for each weekly menu, to use as a guide for buying ingredients.

The graph below demonstrates a menu that fully meets the nutritional guidelines:

A menu that is compliant with the Children’s Food Trust guidelines for under-5s in childcare will meet the nutritional needs of this age group.

We can provide you with a ready made package – a fully nursery menu including:

  • A menu
  • Recipes
  • A shopping list
  • Full menu & recipe costings
  • AN ALLERGEN REPORT can be provided of all recipes in the menu.
  • Full nutritional analysis

allergen report