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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 10:29 GMT
Healthy food advice for nurseries
Child with burger
Burgers will only be served once a week, the guidance says.
Healthy eating guidance for nursery and pre-school children has been published by the Scottish Executive.

The advice is part of a drive to extend the executive's Hungry for Success school food scheme to the under-fives.

Consultation on the Nutritional Guidance for Early Years took place between March and June last year.

The report gives recommendations on meals and snacks, advice on developing healthy eating habits and information on dental health and physical activity.

Deputy Education Minister Robert Brown said: "Healthy eating is vital for all children and they're never too young to develop a taste for healthy options.

"If we can encourage them to choose healthy options from an early age, then they're more likely to stick with these as they grow up.

Over the next year, as part of our inspection programme, we will be asking providers about how they are using the guidelines
Ronnie Hill
Care Commission

"Not only will wholesome meals and snacks give children the nutrients and energy they need for their nursery day, but there will also be long-term health benefits."

Ronnie Hill, director of children's services regulation for the Care Commission, said: "We believe the new guidelines will help all those involved in providing day care for children to improve the quality of food that is on offer.

"Over the next year, as part of our inspection programme, we will be asking providers about how they are using the guidelines.

Turkey twizzlers

"We are looking forward to working with them on this initiative, and seeing a positive impact on the health of Scotland's children."

The guidance says that every meal and snack combination, whether hot, cold or a packed lunch, should contain fruit or vegetables.

Vegetables should be served in an appealing and easy to eat way.

The move is designed to encourage healthier snacking

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.

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 not be provided in the pre-school care setting.

If they must be given to children, they should be eaten at meal times only.

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