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Food Policy Guidance for Early Years Settings

What is a food policy?

A food policy is a written document and a public statement, enabling you, your staff, children and their parents/carers to understand your commitment to the provision of healthy foods and drinks and learning about food.  It’s important to remember a food policy is not just simply there to outline your protocol to food hygiene/safety, other aspects should be considered, which this week’s blog will highlight.

Why have a food policy in your setting?

A well-structured food policy that has been developed in consultation with all staff, parents, careers and children is an effective way of ensuring that your settings children and their parents/careers receive consistent messages about healthy eating. Such consistent health messaging supports children in developing healthy eating habits from an early age which research shows positively influences a range of health and development outcomes for children later in life.

Creating a well devised food policy is something we consider within our 5 criteria points within our Health Award which supports your setting to achieve standards of nutrition excellence.  If you are working towards the award or considering signing up, here are our top tips to support you in completing some of Criteria 2- Food Policy development and adopting a baby friendly approach.

 Our top tips around creating a best practice food policy are:

  • Consider an enthusiastic member of staff with an interest for health/wellbeing and the skills and experience to write, successfully plan and engage all staff, parents and children with the  food policy
  • Consider the terminology and word count within your food policy, ensuring it is clear, co-ordinated and concise, worded in a way which will encourage both staff and parents or careers to read it but also understand your policy
  • Consider including more than information around your food safety and hygiene, you can also include your approach to the food and drink you provide, you’re eating environment as well as how you allow children to learn through food
  • Create opportunities for staff and parents or careers to feedback when developing your food policy, through staff meetings and by creating feedback boxes for parents
  • Ensure your policy is user friendly and well structured, so staff and parents can clearly see your approach to different aspects of your food provision and learning about food
  • Book on our classroom or online Tier 2 Food Policy training to get a better understanding of what to include in your food policy  as well as resources to support you in  creating a well-structured, user friendly written policy
  • Use the Eat Better, Start Better guidelines as a guide to consider other additional information to include in your policy, such as your approach to promoting UK Physical Activity Guidelines or how you management allergies and intolerances with children in your setting.

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