The importance of childcare settings in children’s nutrition

Did you know that healthy eating and physical activity patterns established during childhood and early years provide an important foundation for a child’s future health and wellbeing? 

The Welsh Government Guidelines for Food & Nutrition in Childcare settings reports practicing healthy habits early on can have a positive influence on how children develop, grow and learn throughout their entire lives.  

Nutrition Skills for Life believes childcare settings can play a key role by providing high quality and nutritious food for children in their care. There are currently over 80,000 childcare and play places granted in Wales – resulting in a huge potential impact on the lives of many young children. 

Welsh cook, food writer and TV presenter Beca Lyne-Pirkis is an Ambassador for Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales, the Welsh Government strategy for preventing and reducing obesity.  Here, she explains the importance of childcare settings in children’s nutrition and the benefit this can have on entire families. 

Having studied Human Nutrition and Dietetics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Beca is a firm believer that health boards, childcare practitioners and professionals alike are in an ideal position to help shape eating habits and to support infants and children to eat well.  

“Practitioners can do this throughout childcare settings for children from birth and up to 12 years by: 

  1. Supporting women who choose to breastfeed to continue to do so 
  1. Supporting families to encourage infants to eat a wide variety of foods when starting solids 
  1. Ensuring children get the right amount of energy and nutrients from their meals, snacks, and drinks 
  1. Providing activities for children to develop a positive attitude towards food, mealtimes and their health 
  1. Providing families and carers with the tools and knowledge around nutrition to create healthy lifestyles for themselves, their families, and their communities” 

“All families should have access to affordable, good quality food as this has an impact on children’s long-term health and wellbeing. This is why the initiatives created by Nutrition Skills for Life and coordinated within childcare settings provide inclusive opportunities for everyone to improve their health.” 

“I encourage those in early years settings to take a look at the Nutrition Skills for Life website to see what training is on offer so that families can benefit from education around easy to create healthy meals within their childcare setting and at home.”  

“The website includes an abundance of support and information about initiatives such as the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award, Tiny Tums Best Practice Certificate, the Food and Fun programme and Get Cooking – just some of the initiatives which provide useful information that can be cascaded through families and generations to come.” 

Through her cookery shows, Becws and Parti Bwyd Beca which air on S4C, Beca educates viewers on her own family’s experiences of cooking and their favourite recipes.  Beca believes learning about the properties of food and developing cooking skills from a young age is vital in developing a healthy diet.  

For further information on what’s available in your area, visit: What’s on near me – Nutrition Skills for Life®  

The Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy focuses on prevention and building a whole system approach to healthy eating. This means that, in addition to supporting individuals to learn how to improve their diet, the strategy considers how to support everyone – whatever their stage in life – to access healthy food. This includes policies that encourage healthy choices as people do their weekly shop, eat out or visit the places that are part of their day-to-day lives. 

Key settings such as early years childcare, schools, leisure, youth and community settings, as well as care settings for older people/vulnerable adults are places where people can spend a lot of their time. Employees and volunteers can make a big difference towards people’s overall diet by making best use of the nutrition education, training and resources available. 

For more information about Welsh Government’s Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy, visit

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