Diet – Policy and Practice

(incorporating packed lunch policy).


The sharing of refreshments can play an important part in the social life of the Pre-school/Club, as well as reinforcing the children’s understanding of the importance of healthy eating. The Pre-school/Club will ensure that:


  • All meals and snacks provided are nutritious, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar, salt, preservatives and colouring.
  • Children’s medical and personal dietary requirements are respected.
  • Menus are planned in advance (when necessary) and the food that is offered is fresh, wholesome and nutritionally balanced. At the pre-school/club children will be encouraged to make independent choices from the menu available at the time. Menus will be reviewed and updated regularly and maybe subject to change without prior notice.
  • A multicultural diet is offered to ensure that children from all backgrounds encounter familiar tastes and that all children have the opportunity also to try unfamiliar foods.
  • The dietary rules of religious groups and of vegetarians/vegans are known and met in appropriate ways.
  • Milk provided for children is semi-skimmed and pasteurised.
  • Parents provide children’s lunch if the child stays all day. A leaflet will be issued to parents by the pre-school promoting recommendations for healthy eating.
  • Fresh drinking water will always be available. As soon as children start at the pre-school, they will be encouraged to drink out of an open cup.
  • Children will be offered mid morning and afternoons snacks during their sessions.
  • We will provide a quiet area for mothers to breastfeed if necessary.


Packed lunches


Management of the Packed Lunch Policy

The packed lunch policy and the practice within the setting have been co-ordinated by Julie Nicholls. Staff, parents/carers have been actively involved in the development of the policy. All staff and parent/carers will be given guidance on what to provide for a healthy packed lunch, through staff training, leaflets, posters and relevant links. Lunches will be monitored by staff and guidance given if the lunches are not up to the nutritional standards  expected by the pre-school.


Policy Aims

Padstow Pre-school is aware of local and national requirements to reduce childhood obesity.

Our aim is to ensure that all packed lunches brought from home and consumed in the setting (or on trips) provide children with healthy and nutritious food that is similar to food served in our setting, which is now regulated by national standards.


Equal Opportunities

Padstow Pre-school is inclusive of children from different cultures and religion and staff are aware of the need to be sensitive to individuals’ beliefs about what is acceptable in relation to food. Staff are creative in their approach for inclusion of children from these backgrounds in relation to healthy eating.


Special diets and allergies

The setting recognises that some children may require special diets that do not allow for the standards to be met exactly. In this case parents are urged to be responsible in ensuring that packed lunches are as healthy as possible. For these reasons’ children are not permitted to swap food items. Please speak with your key person for support around healthier choices.


Food and drink in packed lunches:

  • The setting will provide facilities for children bringing in packed lunches and ensure that fresh drinking water is always readily available.
  • The setting will ensure that the children have appropriate dining room arrangements i.e. enough space, chairs and tables for eating at.
  • The setting will work with parents to ensure that packed lunches abide by the standards set out in this policy.
  • Encourage parents to bring packed lunches in insulated bags with freezer blocks, if fridge space is limited to stop food going off.



Packed lunches should include:

  • At least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables every day.
  • Meat, fish of other source of non-dairy protein i.e. egg, chickpeas, peanut butter or hummus every day.
  • Oily fish, such as salmon, at least once every 3 weeks.
  • A starchy food i.e. bread, pasta, rice, couscous or crackers.
  • Dairy food i.e. milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais or milk pudding.



Packed lunches should not include:

  • Salty snacks i.e. crisps
  • Chocolate bars, chocolate coated biscuits or sweets.
  • Homemade fruit-based cakes and biscuits are allowed but encourage children to eat these only as part of a balanced meal.
  • No fizzy drinks or squash.
  • Meat products such as sausage rolls, pies, corned meat. Sausages should only be included occasionally.


Working in partnership with parents/carers:

Parental support is vital and by working in partnership with parents/carers we can ensure that the families who attend the pre-school are aware of the importance of healthy eating for their children and themselves.

We display information about healthier choices and communicate with parents and carers about healthy lunches:

  • Newsletters
  • Notice boards
  • The pre-school Face Book page and our website
  • Informal and formal contact with parents/carers


Assessment, evaluation and reviewing:

Parents wishing to provide their child with a packed lunch will be expected to conform to the packed lunch policy.  In turn the pre-school will keep the parents and other staff members informed as per the methods detailed below under “Dissemination of the Policy.”


  • Packed lunches will be regularly reviewed by staff members
  • Healthy lunches and practices will be rewarded by …. Stickers, certificates, congratulatory letters etc.
  • Parents who do not adhere to the policy will receive a leaflet informing them of the policy and guidance on healthy packed lunch choices.
  • Children with special diets will be given due consideration.


Dissemination of the policy:

  • The pre-school will inform all new and existing parents/carers to inform them of the policy update, via newsletter.
  • The policy will be available on the pre-school website.
  • The setting will use opportunities such as parent contact days, open days and special event weeks to promote the policy as part of a whole setting approach to healthier eating.
  • All setting staff will be informed of this policy and will support its implementation.













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