Kid Ease, which has five settings in Kent, Essex and Norfolk, bought a share in Healthy Roots Catering to improve the choice and sourcing of nursery meals.
The catering firm will prepare healthy food in the chain's Dover Triangles Nursery and deliver meals to two other settings, Dover Buckland and Hawkinge in Kent, which were recently awarded the Kent Quality Mark, from April.
The chain is now considering extending the partnership to food provision at the Margate nursery based at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital.
Kid Ease managing director Ian Atkey said, 'We have always outsourced our catering and were happy with the company we were using, but wanted to take it to the next stage. After years of looking, we found a caterer that shares the same ethos as us - that children should eat food that is fresh, free range, nutritious and tasty, using natural ingredients while respecting the planet.'
Meals served at the nurseries will include a vegetarian option and use produce in season from local farms to minimise the distance it has to travel, while the children can learn about where food comes from and how it is grown.
Kid Ease and Healthy Roots are holding tasting sessions at the Dover Triangles nursery for staff and children ahead of the official launch.
Mr Atkey said they hoped to inspire other early years settings.He said, 'Feedback from our first tasting session this month was really positive. Practitioners commented on how nice the food was and the good size portions. Our aim is to raise standards in other settings as well as our own, as finding a good quality caterer can be really problematic for nurseries.'
DAY 1: Main: Baked chicken or halloumi with creamed sweetcorn on a bed of rice and a spring onion and green salad
Pudding: Rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard
Tea: Hummus with crispy radish, carrot and pepper dippers
DAY 2: Main: Baked salmon with korma puy lentils or baked courgettes with paneer and korma lentils, all with side salad.
Pudding: Sauteed pineapple with pistachio yoghurt
Tea: Leek and carrot savoury mini scone
NOTE: Since this article was published we have been notified by Kid Ease that the company decided not to invest in Healthy Roots and instead provides its own catering. Kid Ease has asked us to update this article.