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5.1.10 Nutrition, Diet and Mealtimes

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This guidance is provided for staff/carers looking after children in foster care and residential care.


  1. Ask and take account of what parents, previous carers and children say about foods they like and dislike; and any allergies or other health care needs which may impact on their diet;
  2. Find out about special requirements; for example, food needing to be cut up, special dishes, cutlery or assistance the children may require;
  3. Ensure that any dietary requirements that arise from a child's background or heritage are taken account of. Carers and staff who are unsure about how to do this should seek advice and guidance about how to proceed;
  4. Provide nutritious, balanced and varied food;
  5. Cater for culture, age, medical needs and choice;
  6. Cater for individual needs;
  7. Involve children, as far as possible, in menu planning, choice and purchase of food;
  8. Ensure adequate and appropriate drinks are available at all times;
  9. Present food in attractive and appetising ways.

At meal times:

  1. Staff/carers should sit with children, not at separate tables;
  2. Provide enough time for children to eat their meal comfortably;
  3. Serve slow eaters first to allow them more time;
  4. Make meal time a relaxed, social event when the day can be talked about;
  5. Promote independence with sensitive one-to-one help where necessary;
  6. Consider children who may require some privacy or may need to be separated while eating.

End