Healthy food

Food is really something to write home about here at Young Friends as we prioritize the nutritional benefit of home-style meals made on site by our three chefs. The kitchen is located off of the Baboon (2yr old) room, so the children enjoy the added benefit of the fresh aroma of food and watching the chefs prepare it. We avoid added sugar and provide the children with healthy options of snacks and puddings.

We believe in creating a love for healthy food; and we strongly believe it is up to us to help develop these tastes from day one. Because of this every single meal that we serve fresh and healthy – whether this be a snack or main meal.

We are very proud of having our very own and experienced chef, Gillian and her partner in crime Kelly. Gillian is the mother of the owner, Louise and has many years experience cooking for children. Kelly and Gillian fashion a different three week cycle menu that changes every season. All recipes are delicious and each menu is derived from recipes that are favourites with the children. If it doesn’t work they change it.

We use our own knowledge combined with advice and literature from the ‘Healthy Early Years’ team to ensure that each day has a balance of 3-5 bread/cereal/potatoes, 5 portions of fruit and veg, 2-3 portions of meat, fish and vegetarian alternatives and 3 portions of dairy. Our snacks are also detailed in our 3 week rotating cycle so that all of our team, who prepare the snacks, know exactly what amount to give to each child.

Our meals are given in accurate child portions to encourage self-monitoring of appropriate appetites for each stage of development (of course this slightly varies according to the size of the child). Also so that children with smaller appetites don’t get frightened by too much food on their plate. The first portion is measured out but there is plenty of food so they can have as many portions as they wish.

Drinks are milk and water so as to take care of the children’s teeth and we do not serve any sweet spreads such as jam or honey. We feel this is down to you, the families to decide whether or not to give to your children, not us.

At snack time our children get a fantastic array of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy carbohydrates and spreads from all areas of the world. We encourage their taste buds to grow and be as adventurous as possible.

Please take a look at our current 3 week menu cycle on this site to see what delicious food the lucky children are eating now.

A full day (8-6) at Young Friends includes the following:

  • BREAKFAST – Breakfast is served between 8 and 8.30 and includes whole grain cereals such as Shreddies and Weetabix and a selection of fruit.
  • SNACKS – Children enjoy two snack times in the day; one at 10 and the other at 3. Morning snack consists of fruit and vegetable options and a light carbohydrate such as melba toast. Afternoon snack also consists of fruit and vegetable options along with a heavier carbohydrate such as crumpets. Snacks may also include dip and spread options such as butter, tuna pate, and tzatziki.
  • LUNCH – Our hot lunches are prepared on site by our chefs with as much fresh, natural ingredients as possible. We try to incorporate various cultural foods as we rotate our menus so children enjoy meals such as Thai green curry, chicken casserole, and turkey pasticcio. Lunches are served at 12 and we cater to all dietary requirements. At Christmas, all groups enjoy a roast lunch. Lunches are followed by pudding, which usually consists of fruit, i.e. fruit salad, yogurt and berries, etc.
  • AFTERNOON TEA – Afternoon teas are small hot meals such as homemade pizza and pesto pasta, and prepared by food safety certified team members. These are served at 4.45.
  • COOKING – Children at Young Friends not only enjoy food prepared for them, but also cook and prepare food themselves. We have a full range of cooking utensils specifically for children’s cooking activities and allow children the opportunity to explore these fully within their cooking sessions. The children cut fruit and vegetables, break eggs, grate cheese and carry out a host of other techniques with the support of the team. The Healthy Eating representative updates our Healthy Recipe book with both nutritional and multicultural foods. We have banned all sugary cakes/biscuits and limit the number of baked goods the groups create as we want children to be exposed to a variety of cooking techniques other than stirring flour and making cupcakes. The food they prepare is either sent home with them at the end of the day or served as one of their meals. In the past, the children have made vegetable sushi, pumpkin soup for lunch, and most recently stone age bread for our History week.