The days of a sweet treat ‘sponge and custard’ style pudding are no more thanks to a healthy eating campaign and infant menu overhaul inspired by nutritionist Charlotte Stirling- Reed and headed by Zebedees, the UK’s leading nursery catering company.
Baby & child nutritionist and Mum of two, Charlotte, became increasingly frustrated by what she was hearing from other parents about what their babies were being offered at nursery. When Zebedees approached Charlotte to collaborate with them on recommended nutritional changes to their new menus, Charlotte grabbed the opportunity to positively influence meals going onto thousands of little ones’ plates every day. The outcome is the creation of a modern menu with significantly reduced sugar, more varied and exciting meals, alternative sources of protein and offering ‘second courses’ instead of desserts.
“As an adult, I would not expect to have a sweet or sugary pudding after every meal so it really bothered me that children were being offered this each day (sometimes twice a day) whilst at nursery. The idea of ‘eat your dinner and you can have your pudding’ is incredibly outdated and not in touch with what modern parents are looking for, or what is recommended for developing a positive relationship with food. We now know so much more,” says Charlotte.
Children in full-time childcare can receive up to 90% of their daily food intake at nursery, so it is vitally important that children are offered plenty of energy and nutrients via balanced meals throughout the day when they are attending their childcare setting.
“I’ve loved working with Zebedees on their latest menus. They hold such a high standard for creating and rolling out these delicious, hot meals to so many children in the UK. I’ve worked to try and ensure that Zebedees really go above and beyond with these menus – and they really do. Meeting all of the UK Government’s targets and then some. Their flexibility, desire to be the best and their real passion for getting it right for children has made this process so easy and I’m so proud to be working for them as their nutritionist. There are other changes we may look to make in the future, but we want to ensure that any changes made are accepted by nurseries and enjoyed by children too – it’s all part of the parcel of feeding children. Huge hats off to Zebedees (especially their head chef, Brendan) who are so willing to really stand out in front to help ensure the foods on offer for nurseries is really the best in terms of quality, nutrition and taste.”
Charlotte has been working with Zebedees offering her advice and guidance on menu development, the first of which is released on 11th October.
Zebedees founder Philip Oates said; “Our new menu exceeds current Government Guidance for Menus for Early Years Settings and enables nurseries to demonstrate to parents that they are achieving a standard of excellence in early years nutrition within their setting. The new menu also supports nurseries to meet the new requirements under the Early Years Foundation Stage, which emphasises that meals provided must be healthy, balanced and nutritious. We feel really satisfied that we are fulfilling our responsibility to the young people we feed and that we are able to reassure parents that their children are being fed a balanced diet at nursery. This is an exciting breath of fresh air for the meals of children in Early Years settings and we are incredibly proud to have worked with Charlotte on our new menu development.”
The Zebedees x Charlotte Menu is available from 11th October. For more information visit the website.