It also follows the review of the EYFS, in which Dame Clare Tickell highlighted the importance of the findings of the Advisory Panel for Food and Nutrition in the Early Years, and recommended that the Government provide further advice and good practice for practitioners.
The voluntary guidelines are intended to help children to develop healthy eating habits and fight the rise in obesity among young children.
Speaking at the Food for Life programme conference, the children’s minister said, ‘Getting children to eat healthy food early on is vital. Quite rightly, parents don’t want their child being fed junk food – and nurseries play a key role in developing good eating habits.’
She added, ‘Many providers have been calling out for clearer information on what food to serve – so, I’m glad that, with the School Food Trust, we will be able to develop advice on the best healthy and nutritious food for young children.’
The School Food Trust has received £350,000 from the Department for Education, as part of its overall budget for 2011-2012, to develop advice on providing nutritional requirements for children in early years settings, both regulated and unregulated, together with a voluntary code of practice and a self-evaluation toolkit for providers.
The trust will also work with the National Children’s Bureau to provide expert support to providers and monitor how the new standards in the EYFS are being implemented and their impact on children’s health and well-being.