School Food Trust Menu Checking at Busy Bees
Following the debate on the need for clearer practical guidelines and the nutritional quality of food provided by early years settings, Busy Bees commissioned the School Food Trust to carry out an analysis on our menus.
The School Food Trust nutritionists looked at the types, amount and frequency of food and drink that Busy Bees provide to children across the day, measuring them against existing guidelines that were summarised by the national Advisory Panel on Food and Nutrition in the Early Years in March 2010.
The charity also carried out nutritional analysis on all of our recipes, comparing the overall nutritional content of the two menus with the Department of Health’s recommended nutritional requirements for children aged one to five. This also included looking at portion sizes, menu planning and nutritional information on manufactured products. Breakfasts, snacks, lunches and teas on each of the menus were individually analysed for the recommended levels of energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, added sugar, protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and sodium.
The School Food Trust found that Busy Bees’ menus were in line with most of existing, food-based guidelines as summarised by the Advisory Panel in 2010, and provided detailed recommendations of how we can move even closer to meeting young children’s daily nutritional requirements.
Marg Randles, Managing Director at Busy Bees, explains "We recognise the importance of establishing healthy eating habits in the years before school to ensure good eating patterns through to adulthood. Children under five are growing at a rapid rate, so it is important they receive all the nutrients they need to develop into strong, healthy young adults.
Although our menus have always been very popular with our parents and children we felt it was important to undergo the analysis to assure ourselves that the food we provide consistently meets the nutritional requirements for our children. The process has allowed us to increase our knowledge, skills and confidence in menu planning. We have already implemented the changes recommended so that we can fully meet the guidance requirements."
School Food Trust Nutritionist Patricia Mucavele commented, "Busy Bees have worked hard to improve their menus and recipes and we were pleased to support them on this work.
Helping children to eat well from an early age is vital for their long-term health, which is why it’s so important that childcare providers are committed to offering balanced menus, encouraging children to try lots of different foods and to make food in childcare a fun and social experience."
Busy Bees Nurseries have always recognised the importance of healthy eating, which is reflected in the actions we take to ensure our nurseries use the best ingredients and children attending our nurseries develop an understanding about the benefits of healthy food.
Busy Bees employ a dedicated catering team, who work in professionally equipped kitchens, and our nursery Chefs are required to complete an exclusively developed Early Years Nutrition course certified by City & Guilds.
Our Nursery Chefs often hold healthy eating discussions and carry out fun activities with the children, incorporating fruit and vegetables, fish, the ‘Eatwell Plate’ and the importance of a balance diet. Experts such as child nutritionists and outside professional Chefs also regularly visit our nurseries, introducing children to a variety of different tastes and textures of food.
Busy Bees are continuously developing new and exciting campaigns to introduce and encourage healthy eating amongst children attending Busy Bees nurseries, including 'Cooking with Me,'Grow Your Own’ and Change4Life, who we have maintained a national partnership with since 2009.
Busy Bees is committed to delivering quality, balanced meals and snacks to all the children attending our nurseries, and will continue to set the standard for food excellence at Busy Bees and the childcare sector as a whole.