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Snack or Breakfast?


AliceinWonderland
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Hi all,

When i took over the nursery 18 months ago, the morning snack consisted of toast or cereal with a couple of slices of banana. Although on the menu it was described as snack, both staff and parents were in the habit of calling it breakfast. I have gradually got staff to stop calling it breakfast and reduced the amount of toast/cereal and increased the amount of fruit. Last week i added a note to the newsletter letting the parents know that we are stopping the toast/cereal and increasing the range of fruit/veg we will provide for the morning snack. I also reminded parents that the tea was only a light tea, not meant to replace their evening meal. (it has always been this way, but felt the need to highlight it as became aware some parents were not feeding their children).

Today i got a message from a member of staff who has been collared in the supermarket by a parent questioning the 'new' changes. I expect some parents to question it, as i know they just think we should feed their children 24 hours a day. My reasoning is that we are trying to encourage children to eat healthily and introduce them to a wide variety of fruit and veg, we do not open early enough to warrant providing breakfast. With most of our children having breakfast before they arrive at nursery, i don't think it is good for them to be having 2 sets of toast/cereal and we have to try our best to get children to have a balanced diet to help the fight against obesity and other health problems. As for the 'light tea', this is served at about 4pm, if parents are not giving their children tea or breakfast, then a child could possibly be going from 4pm to 9:45am without any food at all.

Not sure what i answers i want from you all, just wondered how you all stagger your snacks etc and how you would deal with this situation. Or am i out of order for changing the menu?

Thanks

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We open 8-6, but the cook only works 9-1, i have wondered if there were any rules on the times you open vs food that must be supplied? but it takes staff out of the rooms to make food, all parents have been told when they start the times that we have our snacks/food etc and are told that it is snack in the morning and a light tea (we do provide a full cooked lunch and snack in the afternoon too) but think as staff got into the habit of calling it breakfast, it's been lost in translation. Sessions are 8-1 and 1-6.

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Hi

You mentioned your sessions are 8-1/1-6 so do you have children with you all day?

We are 8-6 also and have some arrive at 8 but the majority at 9.

Children and babies arriving at 8 have breakfast if they've not had chance at home. For us, most have already eaten and been up a while but for those who have literally been scooped into a car to get to us which sometimes happens,then they provide their own choice of cereal which they keep at nursery.

For us, snack is 10.15 ish. It is different on different days but does include : cereal,fruit,toast,bread sticks and dried fruit,cheese etc to try to vary. Lunch is 12.Afternoon snack 2.15 ish, Tea at 4.

I think you will easily be able to reassure parents if you send some additional info.after half term. Perhaps they feel they are now getting less for their money just by how something is now being taken away even though actually you are going to be providing a good choice of fruit etc now so it's an improved offer.

Could you perhaps offer flexibility so that any children arriving at 8 can have breakfast if they need it and then a later time for snack? Just a thought,it works for us.☺

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Hi Greenfinch,

yes, some children are all day and like you only a few at 8am, for babies we go off their own routine depending on age so some have a little porridge etc, snack does include bread sticks/pitta etc, we basically follow the guidelines of the children's food trust for snack. I decided to stop the toast/cereal as it just screams breakfast at everyone and some parents were being ridiculous, e.g turning up at 11am and saying "oh, have they missed breakfast? they only got up at 9am so haven't had any" really brought it home to me how parents may be perceiving what we gave the children. the majority do give breakfast before they arrive and so don't need a second one. The parent who's collared my staff is one who's always quick to complain but has also mentioned in the past that they do have breakfast at home, so i don't see what their problem is. You're probably right, they may see it as getting less for their money although it will actually cost me more to buy in extra fruit and veg compared to cereal and bread. Hopefully i'll be able to explain enough to them that they understand. our food times seem basically the same as yours, is yours a light tea also?

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How about some visuals for your parents - take photos of your foods on offer and the portions you give, then parents will have a clear idea about the amounts their child may be consuming while they are with you - they may being either over-estimating or under-estimating and really hammer home the message about providing items with less processed sugars in them.

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Hi Pebbles

Yes,we also give meal at tea time rather than a light tea . I think this is really important for our families and particularly now we're approaching colder weather.For me,IMHO, families have paid for childcare whilst they are at work and by the time children have been picked up at 6 or even after 5, arrive home etc, it's quite late to then have to cook or feed them tea. Also, children who've been at school all day are ready for a meal at 4.We don't have a cook either after lunchtime but tea has been prepared ready to cook or we do it ourselves.

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How about some visuals for your parents - take photos of your foods on offer and the portions you give, then parents will have a clear idea about the amounts their child may be consuming while they are with you - they may being either over-estimating or under-estimating and really hammer home the message about providing items with less processed sugars in them.

Thanks Panders, think i may do that, I've changed what is on the menu a lot over the last year, moving away from things like chicken nuggets and hotdogs and now it's much healthier which we've had good comments about. Everything is home cooked now, no packets or jars etc. Thanks for the advice.

 

Hi Pebbles

Yes,we also give meal at tea time rather than a light tea . I think this is really important for our families and particularly now we're approaching colder weather.For me,IMHO, families have paid for childcare whilst they are at work and by the time children have been picked up at 6 or even after 5, arrive home etc, it's quite late to then have to cook or feed them tea. Also, children who've been at school all day are ready for a meal at 4.We don't have a cook either after lunchtime but tea has been prepared ready to cook or we do it ourselves.

Thanks Greenfinch, really appreciate your help and advice. Our families seem on board really, most have voiced how they always have a meal at home as well. Don't think making a meal at home is an issue for most of our families, as they all live in immediate area, doesn't take them long to get home and most have kids at school who also need feeding. It's just the odd ones who may need to adjust slightly, although the only one who's questioning it is at home all day and would have plenty of time to prepare if they could be bothered. Think maybe that's what gets to me more. Thanks again

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We are only a sessional playgroup and have a small snack about 10 ish and children bring their own packed lunch.

I made a a little poster and laminated it, 'today's snack' then laminated some photos of the snacks we do, I can then Velcro them on each morning so parents can see what we've had.

I let the children help in choosing and putting the board up when they help prep the snack or if we've cooked something.

They sometimes choose things that I wouldn't put together ( toasted currant tea cakes and hummus ) but as usual they seem to eat better when they've done it themselves!

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We are open 8 - 6 and our meals and snacks are:

 

Breakfast offered to those arriving between 8 and 8.45ish - cereal, toast, etc

 

Morning snack 10 - 11 - fruit and crackers, breadsticks etc

 

Lunch at 12. We have a cooked meal brought in from the local primary school, two courses. Some children bring a packed lunch.

 

Afternoon snack 2 -3 similar to morning

 

Tea 4.30 - a light meal, so sandwiches, beans on toast, crackers with ham, cheese and salad etc. Yogurt, fruit, slice of cake etc.

 

We have some children all day, some sessional.

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We are a nursery open from 7:30am - 6:00pm and our meals are structured like:

 

7:30am - 8:30am: Breakfast (cereal and 1 alternative such as toast/crumpets/croissants)

10am: Snack (fruit and milk)

11:30am: Cooked meal and pudding

3:30pm: Light tea (sandwiches/pittas and salad in the summer, beans on toast, soup etc in the winter)

 

The parents are made aware that the portions at tea time are only intended as a light snack to tide them over to their evening meal and most prefer this so they still get some family time together eating at home. I'm sure some don't feed their children again until the next morning but there's little I can do about that :(

 

If I had my way I would ditch the morning snack - I think they eat far too much in the space of 4 hours in the morning!

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I think they eat far too much in the space of 4 hours in the morning!

I agree with that! sometimes it feels as though all they do is eat!

I make sure that every parent i show round is informed of our snack/meal pattern and that we have snack, lunch, snack, light tea. It's the original people from before i took over that were mislead in the first place. TBH, it's only 1 parent who is kicking up a fuss. Unfortunately he only drops off twice a week and i wasn't in work yesterday so won't see him to tackle this until Friday. He has approached 2 staff out of work and questioned them both, (they both pointed him in my direction) and his parting shot yesterday was ' she's not allowed banana or orange so she'll just have to starve till lunch!'

He's really got the wrong end of the stick but is also lying about things too, we have been told not to give the child banana as they say it gives her a funny tummy and we abide by this but have never been told not to give her orange (not to mention that we do provide a much wider range than this anyway), he has also said that child cannot have too much fruit as she has acid reflux, child had this as a baby but has outgrown it, not had an issue since she was tiny, she is now nearly 4. If she still has issues with this, then why has she not been to doctors or been referred to hospital and why haven't we been told. Basically he's just being an arse on purpose. Actually can't wait till friday now to hear what he actually says to my face (he told staff that lots of parents would be taking their children out of the setting).

Thank you to everyone for your comments and your advice, i'll let you know how it goes!!

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We feed our children roughly every 1.5 - 2 hours!

 

Breakfast is 8.15

Snack 10am

Lunch 11.30am

Snack 2pm

Light tea 3.30pm

 

We have the similar struggle over the tea time meal with parents thinking it's their evening meal. We're trying to stress as much as possible that it's just to keep them going until they get home.

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Well, I spoke to the parent in question, apparently he had it in his head that snack was things like one small bread stick and one carrot stick! So after i explained exactly what sort of food we were providing he was a lot happier, he still was against having to feed his child in the evening but after i told him what time we had our tea and that it would be a long time for a child to go without food if they had to wait till the next morning, he agreed with me!! so all is good in the world. Thank you to you all for your advice, it really helps to be able to voice things on here and get all the different points of view.

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7.30 - 6 and basically same as Daydreambeliever's routine.

 

We have just started an healthier eating routine and changed the menu completely and luckily seem to have gotten away with it without any fuss this time! Maybe saying that we are using more organic foods in the meals swayed it, it does sound posh afterall! We also took pictures and posted them on our FB page and website to promote it.. to make it a positive change it should be!

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