New Children’s Menu Unveiled

Young patients at Forth Valley Royal Hospital will now be able to tuck into healthier and more nutritious food following the introduction of a new menu specifically created for the Children’s Ward.

The new menu is an exemplar for healthy eating so chips and chicken nuggets no longer feature. Instead there is a wide range of tasty dishes including grilled roast chicken breast in gravy, breaded baked fish and a selection of salads and baked potatoes with toppings.

The bespoke menu is the result of a project involving NHS Forth Valley dietitians, speech and language therapists, paediatric nurses, a play leader, a paediatrician and catering staff from Serco, who worked together with parents and children. The average length of stay for a child admitted to the Children’s Ward is 1.1 days, so a 3 week menu cycle was deemed unsuitable. The group therefore devised an a la carte menu with a range of options.

Focus groups were held for children and their parents or carers to test out the recipes. These events were huge fun and the feedback from both children and adults was extremely positive.

Catering Manager at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Anne Davidson, said: “This menu supports a programme of education in schools. I think parents are much more aware themselves of the importance of a well-balanced diet and surprisingly, food such as chicken nuggets was never really the first choice for kids. This menu is designed to encourage healthier eating when these children are older and we also welcome feedback from patients and families.”

The new menu meets the nutritional need of all children aged 1 to 16 years. Some children are ‘nutritionally well’ and should be following the principles of healthy eating. Other children are ‘nutritionally vulnerable’ meaning they need access to higher energy foods including higher fat and sugar dishes.

The menu has also been nutritionally analysed to ensure that it caters for all needs from the 717 calories per day for a 1 year old ‘nutritionally well’ girl to 3557 calories per day for a ‘nutritionally vulnerable’ 16 year old boy. A separate list of higher energy foods is available for those children who require them, for example those with malabsorbtion, cystic fibrosis etc.

Catering Manager, Anne Davidson (left) is pictured with Children’s Ward housekeeper Lynn Davidson and Fletcher Barr aged 4.