Melissa, our cook at Wellingborough Day Nursery has been working with Sharon (nursery owner), to review all our menus in a bid to cut added sugar further. We have always been careful to keep processed sugar to a minimum, for example by reducing the amount we put in our homemade cakes and desserts. But current guidelines from the NHS suggests 19g per day is suitable for 4-6 year olds, less for our little ones. That’s just over 4 teaspoons! When you take into account the fact that a mini-box of raisins contains the equivalent of 3 teaspoons and 100ml apple juice contains 2 teaspoons, you can see what a task we have!
These are some of the changes we have made:
- No fruit juice is served at all, only milk and water.
- Dried fruit is used in cooking, but not served as a snack on its own.
- We minimise the amount of manufactured food we serve.
- Where possible, we use a mix of wholewheat and white rice, pasta, flour and bread. This helps to release energy more slowly and keep those little tummies fuller for longer.
- We only serve breakfast cereals which contain less than 10g of sugar per 100g.
- Where possible, we serve natural yogurts and fromage frais over those which have added sugar.
Here are some more of the ‘rules’ which we design our menus around
- Lean red meat (beef, lamb and pork) are served twice a week.
- White fish is served once a week.
- Oily fish (sardines, salmon, pilchards) are served once a week.
- Artificial colourings, additives and preservatives are kept to a minimum.No fewer than 4 fruits or vegetables are served over the course of a day
There’s a great little Sugar Smart App which will help you pick out the worst culprits when you are in the supermarket. It gets a bit frightening when you flash it at processed jars of pasta sauce, though!