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Who you are and why is nutrition changing with the seasons is an important consideration for Early Years?

Hi, My Name is Gary Newman and I work at the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery in Loughton as the chef. I have been working in nurseries for the last few years, so I have a good amount of knowledge of children’s dietary requirements and what is important to include. I think it is important that nutrition changes with the seasons because it gives the children the ability to eat different foods that are only available during certain times of the year, thus giving them nutrients which they might not have during summer for example.

How is nutrition considered within the menu when the season changes? How does this pan out over the day with breakfast/snacks/lunch etc?

The menus at Monkey Puzzle Loughton are nutritionally planned, ensuring that the different food groups are balanced, the children are receiving appropriate portion sizes as well as having a levelled salt and sugar intake. I ensure that all children receive a rich variety of tastes and textures with a good balance of all the food groups.

What is the importance of including the correct fruit and vegetables in your autumnal dishes?

I believe that the importance of including the correct fruit and vegetables within our autumn dishes at the nursery is that it gives the children a great balance – children should be eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Obviously, the portion size will vary dependent on age and how active each individual is, so good nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and developing good eating habits, and healthy growth.

How do you change your menu to include comforting and seasonal dishes?

The menu is changed seasonally to include current, local, easy-to-source foods so that we never run out of ingredients keeping the menu constant.