Early Years & Healthy Start

Pregnancy is a good time to think about what you eat. A healthy diet will help your baby to develop and grow and is important for your health too. 

Eating a variety of different foods every day will provide the right balance of all the different nutrients that you and your baby need.

Take a look at this activity for more facts about healthy eating in pregnancy.

Click here for further information and to see the correct answers’.

Foodwise in Pregnancy App

For more information try our brand new Foodwise in Pregnancy App
(Coming Soon – Early 2022)

Download the Foodwise in Pregnancy Application Guide

Foodwise in Pregnancy groups

Click here for information about Foodwise in Pregnancy groups.

Foodwise in Pregnancy short films

These short films by Ali Gunn, Registered Dietitian, provide useful information about the main food and health messages that are important in pregnancy. 

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has long term benefits for infants that last into adulthood. Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for around the first 6 months (26 weeks) of an infant’s life. After that, giving breast milk alongside solid foods will help them to continue to grow and develop.

This activity provides more information about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Eating well and active play are essential for young children’s health and well-being, to help shape eating habits for life and to help them to be a healthy weight by the time they start school. One of the basic principles to ensure healthy eating for children of all ages is to eat a wide variety of foods to enable children to get all the nutrients they need for holistic growth, wellbeing and development. It is important to remember that the Eatwell Guide does not fully apply to children under 2.

Further useful sources of information include:

Give it Time
Every Child Wales
Bump, Baby and Beyond

Childcare and play settings provide an ideal opportunity for children to get used to a regular eating pattern and healthy foods. Your child may attend a setting that is participating in the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award or the Tiny Tums/Boliau Bach best practice certificate. Further information about the work settings are doing to promote healthy eating can be found here

The Healthy Start Scheme is a UK wide means-tested scheme for families with young children. If you’re pregnant or have a child under 4, the scheme can help you buy basic foods like milk or fruit. Families on a low income or on certain benefits may be eligible to enrol. Once registered, families get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, pulses, plain, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and first infant formula milk. If you qualify for the scheme you’ll be sent vouchers or a pre-paid card that you can use in your local shops. For more information and promotional materials, visit the website here

Pregnant women, new mothers and children under 4 years can also claim free vitamins.  

There are two types of Healthy Start vitamins;  

  • Healthy Start vitamin tablets for women during pregnancy and breastfeeding  
  • Healthy Start children’s vitamin drops for children from birth until their 4th birthday  

Children who are having 500ml or more of formula a day do not need healthy Start vitamins.  Further information can be found on the NHS Website

Here are some ideas for ways to make the most of your Healthy Start vouchers 

Click on the image to view or download this leaflet here.

The Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award is open to day nurseries, Flying Start groups, playgroups, meithrins, childminders and after school clubs. This award recognises and celebrates a quality snack provision within settings and being part of the scheme shows a commitment to children’s health and encouraging good eating habits.

It shows that a setting is putting recommendations from the Welsh Government’s Food and Nutrition in Childcare Settings Best Practice Guidance in place.

To achieve the award, there is set criteria around the following: the provision of healthy snacks and drinks, a positive eating environment, food hygiene and safety. The scheme includes a higher level of the award called the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award Plus (see below). This recognises that a minimum of one member of staff has completed and achieved the Community Food and Nutrition Skills for the Early Years Course or the Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course.

The scheme includes a higher level of the award called the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award Plus (See below).

Click on the leaflet for further information about the award.

The scheme is a higher level award for settings that have already achieved the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award.

This recognises that a minimum of one member of staff has completed and achieved the Community Food and Nutrition Skills for the Early Years Course or the Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course.

This Award is supported in a number of health board areas – for more information visit the ‘What’s on near me?’ section.

Boliau Bach / Tiny Tums is a Best Practice award for Early Years childcare settings in North Wales, which is managed by the BCUHB Public Health Dietetic Team. The award recognises and rewards these settings for achieving best practice in their food and drink provision for 1-4 year olds, in line with Welsh Government guidance (2018).

To be eligible for the award each setting is required to have at least one member of staff who has successfully completed Community Food and Nutrition Skills for the Early Years (level 2) After this, settings are eligible to apply for the Tiny Tums award which involves submitting their menus, food policy and a Tiny Tums menu checklist to the dietetics team.

Constructive feedback and advice is provided to support settings to achieve the award. Successful settings are awarded with a Tiny Tums Best Practice certificate and window sticker, which is valid for 3 years. Settings are encouraged to proudly display their certificates and to share the success of their award with parents and children.

Tiny Tums & feedback from settings and parents:

“I like how the children have a range of ‘adult meals’ to help them grow with a varied taste range”

Parent of a child in a Tiny Tums setting

“I feel strongly about children’s diets, it’s important for their growth and development. The new menu is full of different colours and textures which the children enjoy eating and exploring”

Assistant manager at a Tiny Tums setting

With the help of the Dietitians we are confident that our menu meets the needs of our children whilst still being tasty”

Nursery Manager

The Welsh Government’s Healthy and Sustainable Pre-school Scheme has been developed as an extension of the Healthy Schools National Quality Award and it has eight specific phases: preliminary phase, nutrition and oral health, physical activity/active play, mental and emotional health, wellbeing and relationships, environment, safety, hygiene and workplace health and wellbeing.

The nutrition and oral health phase promotes a whole setting approach to food, nutrition and oral health.

The Level 2 Community Food and Nutrition Skills for Early Years course equips settings with the knowledge and skills to implement these actions.

The Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award and the Tiny Tums Best Practice Certificate align with the nutrition and oral health criteria.

Food and Fun

Your child’s school may be taking part in the Food and Fun scheme. It provides healthy meals, food and nutrition games and activities, physical activity and enrichment opportunities for children during the school holidays. Take a look at the video to find out more about Food and Fun https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16IdNNnBXL0   

Feedback from participants 

“Chicken curry I haven’t tried that before and now I have, delicious as well” 

~ Child attending Food and Fun

We have toast, bagels, we have apples, berries, banana, all kinds of fruit stuff

~ Child attending Food and Fun

“We’ve been learning about grams, with sugar and fat and we’ve been learning what to not eat because of our heart” 

~ Child attending Food and Fun

“It gets you more active, that’s a good thing about this club”

~ Child attending Food and Fun

“This club is the best club I’ve ever been in, in my whole life!”

~ Child attending Food and Fun

“I like parent days because you can eat with them and tell your family what you’ve been doing”

~ Child attending Food and Fun

“The biggest difference the club has made for her is the way healthy eating is really pushed and encouraged”

~ Parent

“I think he’s had about two late nights and that’s a miracle in the summer holidays, they’re shattered when they come home”

~ Parent

Money’s tight at the moment, they won’t need as big an evening meal because they’re having a big dinner [at club]. It’s saving money

~ Parent

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