Nutrition in Eary Years

Posted: 16th August 2021

Tips from a Nursery Chef

It’s no secret that nutrition is important at any age but particularly during the first few years of a child’s life. This is a crucial time for growth, not just physically but also as they develop healthy eating patterns that will follow them throughout life and nurseries have a key role to play in this. 

With over 720,000 children in the UK currently attending early years settings, it is vital that nurseries are being responsible when it comes to encouraging good nutrition each day by providing three wholesome meals per day as well as snacks. 

We are lucky enough to have Chef Anna Alzoubi at our Twickenham Green Nursery who is a certified chef with a diploma from les Roches and has recently been shortlisted for a NMT Nursery Chef Award.  

Anna spends hours experimenting with the menus, making sure that she is serving the children food that is nutritional and well-balanced but also exciting, full of colour as well as flavourful and still suits allergies and religious preferences.  

She has kindly shared her top tips when considering when planning meals for your little ones: 

1. Plan meals with balanced amounts of carbohydrates, protein, sources of vitamins (vegetables, fruits) and healthy fats all of which are an important part of a varied diet for children.

2. Purchasing ingredients based on the availability and seasonality of the produce as well as locally sourcing (farm to kitchen) where possible.

3. Experiment with cultural diversity through the meals and by serving a variety of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Food is a great way to explore other cultures and introduce them to the children as a fun learning opportunity.

4. Make sure the children actually like the dishes! Ask them for feedback after a meal (a clean plate is usually a good sign!) and for older children why not let them help prepare the meal to get them more excited about eating it. 

We’d love for you to have a go at recreating one of Anna’s favourite recipes at home and let us know what your children think.

Please do share photos of your creations with us on Instagram @riversidenurseryschools 

Anna’s vegan pasta with spinach and lentils

Organic green lentils (3 boxes)  
Tomato passata  (4 boxes) 
Spinach (1 bag) 
1 chopped onion  
1 chopped garlic clove 
Cinnamon (just a dash)  
Salt and pepper (to taste) 
Pasta 500g  
Extra virgin olive oil (5 tablespoons) 

1) Add the olive oil, garlic and onion to a pan and sauté for 3 minutes before adding the spinach and sauté for another 3 minutes. 

2) Then add the lentils, spices and seasoning followed by the tomato passata and let it simmer for about 13 minutes. 

3) Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions and drain it. 

4) Add the sauce to the pasta and mix all 

5) Serve and enjoy! 

Categories: Principal's Blog