Nursery food

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buglingsmum13
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Nursery food

Postby buglingsmum13 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:36 pm

Hi all
My little one (1yo) recently started nursery for the first time. Settling in seems to have gone well, the staff seem lovely and do a really good job. Most importantly (for me) my child seems happy when i pick them up.

However, I'm a bit surprised about some of the food they serve - breakfast and lunch seem healthy and home cooked (casseroles, pasta etc), but tea time seems to be much less so - mainly jam / honey / bread and butter sandwiches, albeit with veg/fruit on the side. (They've also served ice cream as dessert on occasion...)

I don't really have anything to compare this to, hence asking here. What are your thoughts on whether this food is acceptable for a 1yo, and how does it compare to others in the area? I personally wouldn't normally serve jam/ honey sandwiches at home as it feels too sugary for such a little one (particularly on a daily basis), but am I expecting too much from a nursery?

Given how settled my little one seems to be, and how happy I am with the other aspects of the nursery, I'm loathe to start looking for alternatives and have to start the whole process again (particularly if i'm likely to find that all the other nurseries serve the same sort of food!).

What do you think? Is this the norm? Should i look elsewhere?
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duck20
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Re: Nursery food

Postby duck20 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:35 pm

Hi buglingsmum13

I too had concerns about the food my son has been given at nursery. After being there for a couple of weeks I discovered he was given chocolate cake. I genuinely hadn't even thought to say no chocolate as it never crossed my mind that they would be feeding such young kids that type of thing. I then advised them that he is on a refined sugar free diet. Given all the press going on lately about sugar I thought this would be information enough to give them. However I later discovered they had given him jam sandwiches as they had interpreted my request as no sugary puddings only. I was then told that I need to give a list of all foods that he cannot have - how can I possibly list all foods containing refined sugars?!
Personally I find it quite ridiculous that kids in nursery are given puddings at all. We dont eat puddings at home as we have a substantial meal and do not need anything further.
Despite my request now being clear I cannot really see how I can avoid sugar at nursery as my boy gets older. Even if he is not served a pudding, the other kids have it so he may well just eat theirs. I also don't want him to feel left out.
I am hoping that by the time we get to the point where this could become an issue, his pallet will be unaccustomed enough to sugar to not really like or want it. Perhaps I am just kidding myself with that one!
Our nursery has recently revised their menu to be a bit healthier with less sweet stuff anyway.
There was a post a few months ago about puddings in nursery/school and it did seem like most places serve them but most parents think they are unnecessary.
In answer to your question, I get the impression that moving to a new nursery would not make a difference, and no I don't think you are asking too much. Nutrition is fundamental to our well being and its really important for our kids to get a good start. I think there should be a lot more importance placed on nutrition in all schools.
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2009Kat
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Re: Nursery food

Postby 2009Kat » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:39 pm

Although I've always had nannies, I used to get soooo worried about the same sort of thing (no-one can cook for my children like I can!). Obviously sugar isn't great but a few years down the line I have now come to think that as long as the diet is basically healthy, all the other aspects of childcare are far more important (good care, attention, activities.....) x
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pie81
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Re: Nursery food

Postby pie81 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:00 am

Tricky one. I wouldn't be happy with my child having honey or jam sandwiches on a regular basis, or pudding. On the other hand I can see it from the nursery's perspective - they have many children to get fed, all probably a bit tired by teatime, and the staff ratios mean they can't spend time cajoling each child to eat. So they need to serve something they know will get eaten (and can be largely self fed) as the parents would be sure to complain if their child came home hungry! Suspect this may be one of the compromises of using a nursery? However there is no harm in saying you'd prefer him to have a savoury meal (you could suggest some options that are equally easy eg cheese sandwich).
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evieandrose
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Re: Nursery food

Postby evieandrose » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:38 pm

Oooooh such a tricky one. I am pretty keen that my kids have healthy, homemade food 90% of the time. They are allowed treats but not every day, and to me, a honey or jam sandwich is a treat!

My nearly 3 yr old goes to a local nursery BTC (2 days a week as he's in other childcare for 3) and their menu is good. Looking at it for next week, there are 3 what I would call 'proper' puddings at lunch (custard sponge, banana muffins and chocolate brownies) and 2 fruit based puddings, and the tea time 'pudding' is always fresh fruit. Both lunch and tea are proper meals (examples being roast beef and veg/fish pie etc).

So yes, there are puddings, but the food is all cooked on site by a chef, and as the main meals are so healthy I don't worry about the puddings too much. Also bear in mind the serving size of puddings nurseries give toddlers does tend to be small!

However, if they were to switch to honey/jam sandwiches I wouldn't be happy-that's not a meal. However some nurseries expect that children will have a proper dinner when they get home-hence a more 'snacky' tea time. Our nursery doesn't shut til 7pm which might explain the proper dinner...

I would say though, that if your child is happy and settled, I probably wouldn't move him based on food. Is it worth talking to the nursery/other parents about your concerns?

Good luck.
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Historytutor
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Re: Nursery food

Postby Historytutor » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:42 pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with it. As Evie says, maybe they're expecting some/most of the kids to have a proper dinner when they get home, so are only giving them a little 'tea' in the afternoon.

And there's nothing really *that* bad about jam or honey sandwiches, is there? When we lived in the Netherlands, kids only had peanut butter, jam, or cheese sandwiches at nursery. NEVER did they have hot food for any of their meals. Dutch kids are a heck of a lot healthier than ours, so if they get enough time outside to run it off, then no problem.

Fwiw, when my oldest was at nursery, it bugged me that she had a full meal at 4:30 in the afternoon. I then had a proper dinner with my husband and my youngest, and she was left to have a snack, as there was no way she was making it to bedtime without something else to eat. So, as far as our meal preferences and schedule are concerned, I'd be quite happy with a little something in the afternoon and then we can all eat together when we're home.
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Bodders1
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Re: Nursery food

Postby Bodders1 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:24 pm

In my view the odd jam or honey sandwich is too bad as long as it isn't every day. It is quite usual for nurseries to give a "lighter" meal for tea ie not always hot. With re to puddings, all nurseries and schools will provide a pudding - again I think everything in moderation - so I have no issue with my 2 children having ice cream every now and again at school/nursery. Typical puddings at my son's school (a local BTC independent school) include muffins (probably no more healthy than ice cream) sponge and custard etc.
However, I would say that whilst I am more relaxed with my younger son, I might have felt the same re honey and jam sandwiches if my little one was only one - I don't think my elder son had an ice cream until he was 2.5
I wouldn't look elsewhere over this concern, particularly as it sounds like your little one is happy and settled and the pastoral care is good. I would speak to the nursery manager to see if they can perhaps improve the tea options to include a little less sugar. I personally think it would be near on impossible to serve a menu that includes zero sugar (refined or added) and that might not be all parents preference anyway and i expect it is very challenging for busy nurseries serving 3 meals a day to cater for very specific requests on a child by child basis (other than allergies of course).
Hope you get it sorted! Sounds like you have a great nursery overall.
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MGMidget
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Re: Nursery food

Postby MGMidget » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:49 pm

I note you say that your little one 'recently started nursery'. Therefore, I think you could consider moving as they probably aren't fully settled yet.

I wouldn't be happy with jam and honey sandwiches and the cynic in me says that is for the nursery's convenience, something easy to feed to ensure they don't go home hungry and staff can concentrate on clearing up while the children mostly feed themselves. I think food and creating the right eating habits is very important and 1 year olds are just establishing eating habits so this is something which would bug me. However, you need to weigh it up against how good the nursery is in other ways.

I'm not in a position to tell you how widespread this is in nurseries as my first didn't go to daycare and my second is only just about to start. Obviously no point moving if the next nursery is the same so I would definitely ask to see food menus for any alternative nursery you are considering.
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LuluDaffodil
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Re: Nursery food

Postby LuluDaffodil » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:58 am

Hi there

I would try and have a conversation with the nursery before looking elsewhere. They can be very accommodating. My little one gets yoghurt for dessert as I want her to get some dairy so they just do that as they have some yogurt on site.
She gets dinner at 3.30 which I find a bit odd but at least means that I can enjoy play time when we get home rather than making her dinner. At weekends I put her on the same schedule as us and she seems fine with it.

Chat to the nursery staff and see if there are alternatives for the very little ones. You will be surprised how nice they can be.

As other posters have said cuddles and care are the most important thing so if your child seems happy that's the main thing.


Good luck xx
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A_Wynter
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Re: Nursery food

Postby A_Wynter » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:11 pm

Hi buglingsmum13,

I had similar concerns when my daughter started nursery and the manager was talking about meal times, pudding etc. However, when I was shown the menu & the food and nutrition policy which included that they do not add salt or sugar to any meals this reassured me. The children are served pudding everyday after lunch but is in no way pudding as I would describe it, for example last week she had natural greek yoghurt with forest berries, banana bread, flapjacks, & fruit cocktail all made fresh from the chef and made without any sugar. Flapjack's are made with butter, raisins and ripen bananas to sweeten. I have tried the puddings and they are not sweet at all. They never serve jam or jelly and actually when I enquired about using honey they said they are not allowed to serve honey to children in the nursery as it was potentially dangerous something I didn't know. Have a word with the manager and see what she/he can do about the jam sandwiches, I wouldn't been keen on that either surely cheese/ham/tuna would be better option?
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upset_&_disappointed
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Re: Nursery food

Postby upset_&_disappointed » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:33 pm

I don't see the issue here. We all had this as kids and we are fine! I was born and bought up in the UK and have never even had a filling(likewise with my kids). To be honest its upsetting to see that a child wasn't allowed ice cream until two and a half years of age! Theres being sensible, and theres bing ridiculous!! Being a teacher parents often complain about meals etc, but teeth can withstand 3 acid attacks a day at meal times. As long as they don't snack in between they will be fine. Stop over parenting on the lesser issues and focus on safety!!!!
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Pud1
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Re: Nursery food

Postby Pud1 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:53 pm

I'm with you upset_and_disappointed. All in moderation.
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