Healthy Snack Award piloted in Carmarthenshire
The Healthy Snack Award has recently been piloted in Carmarthenshire and Eco Tywi Early Years Childcare was one of the initial settings that were successful in gaining the award.
The award demonstrates that Eco Tywi is putting recommendations from the Welsh Government’s Food and Nutrition in Childcare Settings Best Practice Guidance in place and recognises and celebrates the quality snack provision within the setting as well as their commitment to children’s health and encouraging good eating habits.
On accepting the award Cylch Meithrin Eco Tywi explained: The aim of the nursery is to promote education and the development of children from 2 years of age to school age and working towards the Healthy Snack award has enabled us to educate the children about healthy snacks.
We are a nursery that puts great emphasis on hosting activities outside. We also have a strong ethos to be plastic-free. We grow our own fruit and vegetables in our garden and strongly believe that we are teaching the children the importance of being self-sufficient and growing their own crops.
Since starting to work towards the Healthy Snack award we have been more aware of the different types of healthy snacks we can offer the children. We provide a wide range of fruit and vegetables for the children throughout the day and during their breaks. We also provide snacks that comply with the Government’s nutrition guidelines for children. The Government website and food agency website were of great help as we prepared the menu. We had support from a dietitian from Hywel Dda University Health Board to go through the plan step by step and to create the menu. They came out to observe at snack time and made some recommendations.
“We have enjoyed taking part in the Healthy Snack award and are very proud to have been successful. We are certainly going to continue with the knowledge we have gained in order to provide healthy snacks of high standard to the children in our care.”
One change we have made is ensuring that the learners can be more independent when making healthy choices throughout the day. As a nursery we have had water bottles so that we can put a children’s picture on the water bottle and then they have the responsibility to fill their bottles independently. We also encourage the children to put spread on their toast themselves, pour milk into a cup and cut fruit.
Another focus we have to encourage healthy eating and the understanding of food and snacks is to ensure there’s enough variety for the children. It is very important to us as a nursery to celebrate different cultures and religions and through this we ensure that the children have the chance to taste different foods and celebrate different cultures.
The Leader of our nursery has enrolled on The Community Food and Nutrition Skills for the Early Years course which is being offered by Hywel Dda University Health Board. We strongly believe that this course will further develop our leader’s knowledge and they will be able to share this knowledge with the staff in our nursery.
We will continue to follow the recommendations in order to ensure that we provide healthy snacks and lunch of a high standard to the children in our care. We want to make sure that we continue to create a seasonal menu which contains the nutrients needed for children in addition to offering a variety of food which is appropriate to the age of the children in the nursery. Regarding staff, we will ensure that we continue to provide information to our current staff and new staff about the types and portions of the food the children are recommended to have.
Due to the success of our garden this year we are eager to develop this further. We are also eager to continue to use fruit and vegetables that are in season and buy locally in order to reduce our carbon footprint.
As we have successfully completed the Healthy Snack Award we are putting together plans to work towards completing the Healthy Pre School Scheme.