Early Years Nutrition
Good nutrition and a healthy, well balanced diet is essential in the early years of life.
It not only provides young children with all the vital nutrients they need to grow and develop properly, but it also lays down the foundations of healthy eating habits for later life.
Early Years Nutrition Resources
- Drinks for Babies and Young Children – This Childsmile resource details appropriate drinks for babies and young children. This resource is available in different languages and may be requested in alternative format such as large print, braille and audio versions.
- Snack Ideas for the Under 5s – NHS Forth Valley booklet
- Snack Ideas for Children – Ideas to help you provide a variety of healthy, safe snacks. This Public Health Scotland resource comes in a variety of different languages and may be requested in alternative format such as large print, braille and audio versions.
- Parent Club – Scottish Government website has further information on cooking family meals with the kids, cook along videos, easy recipes, food safety information, dealing with fussy eaters and much more
- Setting the Table – Nutritional guidance and food standards for early years childcare providers in Scotland is a guidance publication for food provision in early years childcare provision. This resource is currently being updated
- First Steps Nutrition Trust – Is a charity which provides clear, evidence-based and independent information and support for good nutrition from pre-conception to five years. They have some great Eating Well in the Early Years Resources.
- Eating Well: Snacks for 1 – 4 year olds
- Good Food Choices and portion sizes for 1 – 4 year olds
- Eating Well: Packed Lunches for 1 – 4 year olds
- Eating Well: Vegan Infants and Under 5’s
- Eating Well: Recipe Book
- Eating Well Sustainably: A Guide for Early Years Settings
- Enabling Children to be a Healthy weight – What we need to do better in the first 1,000 days
- British Dietetic Association – Food Fact Sheets for Children – such as Diet, Behaviour and Learning in Children, Healthy Eating for Children, Healthy Packed Lunches and much more…
- Vitamin D and You – This Public Health Scotland leaflet explains the benefits of getting enough Vitamin D as part of a healthy diet. This resource comes in a variety of different languages and may be requested in alternative format such as large print, braille and audio versions. Available from HIRS Library – Code: PAE 04/L
- Physical Activity for Early Years – Birth to 5 years – Children aged 1 to 5 years should aim for at least 180 minutes of physical activity every day
- Veggie Kids Kitchen – The Vegetarian Society
Vitamin D and Early Years Nutrition
The Scottish Government recommends everyone (including children) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D (400 IU), particularly during the winter months (October to March). It is recommended that infants and children under 5 years old take a daily vitamin D supplement all year round.
Find out more about Vitamin D: advice for all age groups.
Get free Vitamin D
Collect Vitamin D tablets & drops at multiple locations.
Food Related Problems in Babies and Children
If your toddler or young child has developed any food related problems such as constipation or has started to develop fussy eating habits.
Visit our Food Related Problems for Babies and Children page for further information and useful resources and web links.
Let’s Get Growing and Cooking with Young Children
It’s a great idea to get young children involved in growing and cooking or preparing foods and snacks from an early age. They not only find it good fun but they are more likely to try new foods and dishes if they have been involved in preparing and cooking it from scratch.
Visit our Grow and Cook page for easy How to…Cook recipes and step by step How to…Grow guides.
- Let’s Make A Bite To Eat – This fun food flipbook gives ideas and inspiration on how to put together different ingredients, from various food groups, to make healthy meals and snacks in minutes.
- Make and Taste for Tiny Tums – Recipe Book – NHS Forth Valley booklet – Quick and easy, no cook snacks and recipes for parents and carers to make with their children.
- Parent Club – Have some great Cookalong Videos and top tips on how to get started Cooking with the kids.
- Eat, Move, Learn – Helping children eat well and stay active – this World Cancer Research Fund website has great child friendly resources, cool facts about food and fitness and Grow it instruction sheets – that families, nurseries, playgroups and childminders could use to encourage children and their families to grow their own produce.
Teach Children about Food and Nutrition – Useful Websites
- Food a Fact of Life – Free resources for teaching young people aged 3-16 years about where food comes from, cooking and healthy eating. They have cooking skills videos, easy recipes, worksheets and much more to support teachers deliver their food and nutrition education programmes. These resources could also be used with adults.
- Food Standards Scotland – Have a range of Education Resources – to support anyone teaching others about food safety and healthy eating. They have a range of online interactive games as well as group activity ideas, videos and information sheets to help teach how to get a balance of healthier and more sustainable food.
- Veg Power – 80% of our kids are not eating enough vegetables. VegPower is on a mission to get the UK eating more vegetables! They have free downloadable posters and activity sheets and workbooks that can be used to make learning about healthy eating fun.
- Vegetable Maths Masters – Vegetable Maths Masters is a free, fun maths app using vegetables. Children can practice maths skills whilst playing with real images of vegetables. The game has three levels for children aged 3 to 4 years, 5 to 6 years and 7+ years.
Useful Early Years Nutrition Websites
- Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods – Find out more about the Early Learning Payment – You can apply for the Early Learning Payment when your child is aged between 2 years and 3 years 6 months.
- The Scottish Government have introduced a new Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme – The scheme will provide children in eligible pre-school settings with milk and a portion of fruit or vegetables.
- Feeding Young Children – NHS – Offering information on what to feed toddlers, what foods to avoid and how to deal with fussy eaters.
- British Nutrition Foundation – Have some useful tips and resources on feeding toddlers.
- Allergy UK – Find out more about allergies in babies and children.
Looking for nutrition training for your early years staff?
Our Public Health Nutrition Team offers a range of training courses and practical food activity sessions around infant and early years nutrition.
For further information on Early Years Nutrition please email Lesley Hetherington (firstname.lastname@example.org) Community Dietitian / Infant Feeding Co-ordinator.