Meals & nutrition
At Townsend Montessori Nurseries, we believe that healthy foods produce healthy, happy children and that the quality of the food we serve has an essential part to play.
We are committed to serving healthy, balanced and nutritious foods that give your child all of the energy they need for a busy day of play, learning and development.
Menus are carefully planned, and a daily menu is displayed in the nurseries. In addition to a balanced lunch, our children also tuck into a breakfast, morning snack and afternoon tea.
Mealtimes are a sociable occasion and an opportunity to learn. We promote the children’s independence by encouraging them to feed themselves. Pre-school children serve up their own lunch and even clear away their own plates. We promote good manners and food etiquette, as staff sit with the children and share stories and laughter.
Children learn about healthy eating in the nursery with various projects and topics that are covered. At mealtimes, staff encourage children to try different foods and talk about the importance of eating healthily to grow up big and strong.
If your child has any special dietary needs based on medical/allergy conditions, religious, or cultural requirements, just let us know. Your Nursery Manager will be happy to discuss this with you.
Why nursery food matters
The food children eat at nursery plays a huge role in what food they eat later in life. Children’s eating habits are formed at a very young age, and the choices, tastes and nutritional quality of the food they eat have a far-reaching effect on their food preferences and health later in life.
Breakfast is served 8–8.30am in the nursery and is included in the session price. We offer fresh fruit, cereal with low sugar and salt content, wholemeal toast with a variety of healthy spreads, porridge, orange juice and milk.
We cater for a variety of dietary requirements. Please ensure that you notify the Nursery Manager about your child’s requirements.
We provide healthy cooked lunches and desserts from Zebedees catering company. All meals are designed to be well balanced and nutritional, as well as tasty. Zebedees’ hot two-course nursery lunch menu operates on a three-weekly cycle and is changed seasonally to ensure variety and a balanced diet.
Combining fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and organic pulses, we use only healthy cooking methods such as baking, braising, steaming and boiling to prepare our nutritious dishes.
Working in conjunction with our paediatric dietitian, our menus are designed to ensure that children receive the right balance of food and nutrients to develop and grow.
Our menus meet the current Department for Education & Skills guidelines and are based on the Caroline Walker Trust ‘Eating Well for Under 5s’ nutritional guidelines.
Using cutting-edge technology, our menus are analysed using our own nutritional analysis software programme to ensure each new menu cycle conforms to the level of nutrients recommended. The guidelines advocate minimum levels for iron, zinc, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and calcium and maximum levels for sodium, NME sugars, saturated fat and fat are combined. Together with energy, these make up the 14 nutrient-based standards.
The bar graph below shows a typical nutritional analysis across a three-week cycle of our lunch and tea menus.
Caroline Walker Trust
The Caroline Walker Trust was established in 1998 to continue the work of the distinguished nutritionist, writer and campaigner Caroline Walker. It is dedicated to the improvement of public health through good food.
Nutrient-based standards pioneered by the Caroline Walker Trust have been adopted for school lunches across the UK. Our menus are designed around the guidance provided by the Caroline Walker Trust for under 5s.
Healthy eating and physical activity are vital for proper growth and development in childhood. Zebedees is in a unique position to have a positive influence on the nutritional intake of the children that eat our meals and to provide help and knowledge to our nurseries and schools.
For further information, visit www.cwt.org.uk.