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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 14:47 GMT
Healthy eating plan for nurseries
Child with burger
Burgers will only be served once a week
Healthy eating guidance for nursery and pre-school children is being introduced in an attempt to combat rising childhood obesity.

One in five toddlers is said to be overweight, according to the latest health statistics.

The Scottish Executive said it wants to extend the Hungry for Success school food initiative to the under-fives.

Proposals up for consultation recommend more fruit and vegetables in meals and discouraging sugary fizzy drinks.

Consultation on the guidance will last until the end of June 2005 and the final document will be published later this year.

The guidance is designed for local authority nurseries, partnership nurseries, childminders, toddler groups, family centres and playgroups.

It will include:

  • Nutritional information and recommendations on meals and snacks;

  • Examples of what a healthy and balanced diet consists of;

  • Advice on developing healthy eating habits;

  • Additional information on topics such as dental health and physical activity.

The guidance says that every meal and snack combination, whether hot, cold, or a packed lunch should contain a minimum of two child-sized portions of fruit or vegetables.

Vegetables should be served in an appealing and easy to eat way and fruit should be offered with every meal and snack.

It says that offering fruit or vegetables before the rest of the meal, or as a snack, may improve uptake.

Processed meat products such as hot dogs, sausages, beefburgers, chicken nuggets or turkey twizzlers should be served a maximum of once a week, the guidance states.

This guidance will give childcare workers access to nutritional information and advice.
Euan Robson
Deputy education minister

And the vegetable content of composite dishes such as pies should be increased where possible.

Rice, pasta, noodles or couscous should be offered as a regular alternative to bread and potatoes.

And children should be discouraged from frequent consumption of sugared or fizzy drinks, it says.

The advice says that chocolate bars, sweets, cereal bars and sweet biscuits should be saved for after mealtimes and as treats rather than offered between meals.

Deputy Education Minister Euan Robson said: "By focusing on the early years, before children pick up bad habits and poor diets, we can encourage youngsters to adopt healthy eating habits that will stay with them for life.

"This guidance will give childcare workers access to nutritional information and advice, allowing them to provide healthy and nutritious meals and snacks for future generations of Scots."

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