Nutrition in the early years
Food glorious food! Nutrition, encouraging healthy eating habits, and learning about food is important, particularly in the early years.
Helping build children's awareness and supporting their development with a healthy balanced diet not only helps improve their health but also lays a foundation for their future wellbeing too.
Nutrition and food provision in your early years setting is an important area to fully understand and incorporate into your professional practice.
That’s why we’ve pulled together this spotlight guide, packed full of nutrition resources and presented in a deliciously easy to digest way. Bookmark this page and pop back as and when you fancy a bite!
Official guidance (England)
Public Health England has published example menus and useful guidance for early years settings to help meet the Early Years Foundation Stage requirements for food and drink. The guidance offers three-week menus, covering breakfast, lunch, tea, and snacks, detailing the importance of a balanced diet for children in the early years. PACEY helped develop the menus and guidance.
Free nutrition resources
Discover what supporting nutrition in your setting means and involves. From considering dietary requirements to variation in your setting with our printable factsheet that caters for members looking for key information from their home nation.
Members can access the free resource on Nutrition for England here and Wales here.
Free yummy recipe card
Download this free recipe card to bake savoury swirl lollies! Yummy! Get yours now
Food safety and hygiene factsheets
Do you provide food in your setting? Make sure you know your food safety and general food hygiene regulations and what it means for you in your setting specifically along with helpful reflective tasks.
Members can access the free resource on Food safety and hygiene for England here and Wales here.
Let's talk about food blog
Learning about food and nutrition with the children in your setting? Check out this brilliant blog from Clickety Books for some fantastic ideas to help introduce new vocabulary as you explore different foods.
This yummy selection of products should whet your appetite for all things nutrition. All available from the PACEY shop with up to 50% OFF for members!
Get set to cook!
This latest book in PACEY's creative series offers a practical guide to delivering nutritious food in all childcare settings. Get set to cook introduces practitioners to ideas for how to: create healthy, balanced menus; foster children's interest in food; embrace different cultural experiences through food; and be aware of food allergies and intolerances.
It also offers ideas and tips from childcare workers on how to inspire children through food. Links are provided throughout the book to show where activities support delivery of the EYFS and Foundation Phase.
Included are 15 easy, tasty recipes that can be used for menus in all childcare settings.
Toys for your setting
Check out these toys and activities for your setting centred around the foody theme.
Shopping list board game
Looking for a fun game to help children develop their personal and social skills whilst learning about food? Try this award-winning game that helps encourage children to talk about food and groceries. Great for memory and literacy skills!
This fun game from Orchard Toys is a fantastic activity to encourage children to communicate, share and play together. Focused around food and food preparation the Crazy Chefs game is sure to be a hit in your childcare setting.
Books for your setting
Looking for foodie related children's books for your setting to help children's learning? We've got a selection of fantastic early soundplay storybook bundles from Clickety books with some great titles including...
- Jake's Cakes
- Clip Clop's Picnic
- Keelo's Cookies
- Millie Makes a Mess
Since December 2014, childcare providers in England and Wales have been required to comply with The Food Information Regulation. This means giving information about the allergenic ingredients used in the food you provide, including pre-packed food.
Discover more information on food allergens with our guide here, plus we’ve linked directly to the resources you need below.
Food allergens FAQs
Got a question about food allergens regulations? We’ve got it covered in our round-up of frequently asked questions. A useful resource to refer to.
Food allergens factsheet
Members can access our factsheet that covers all the main information you need about food allergens. Take a look now!
Food allergen stickers
Get your handy sticker pack that covers all 14 allergens from the EU Food Information Regulation and can be used with our free menu template that you can download for here, plus our free allergens poster!
Eat Better, Start Better
Our partners at the Children's Food Trust, who helped develop the new PACEY publication Get Set to Cook, are leading the work to help early years providers meet children's nutritional needs more consistently. Find out more about their guidance and training here.
Cooking with children is a fun learning experience that everyone can enjoy. From baking to making lunch together, get inspired with our Cook 'n' learn video that explores the learning opportunities with cooking. Get a taster of the video here:
If you prepare food in your childcare setting it’s important to have a good hygiene qualification. Check out the Level 2 food safety and hygiene course.