The Early Years Alliance and the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) have launched a new survey about food and nutrition in early years settings to highlight any “key challenges” that can be faced when trying to “improve children's health”.

The survey, which is open until 25th October, aims to gain provider perspectives on food provision across the early years sector and the challenges associated with giving children access to healthy, balanced and nutritious meals.

The Early Years Alliance say because of ongoing cost-of-living crisis, now is a “vital time” to explore how settings are managing to deliver healthy food to children, to identify any challenges and if so, how they can be addressed.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: “All children, regardless of their background or circumstances, should have access to healthy, balanced and nutritious meals to provide them with the necessary energy to learn, help them to maintain healthy lifestyles and to develop positive relationships with food from the earliest opportunity.

“As we head into the autumn and winter months, many family budgets will be stretched even further and, for some children, the meals they receive at their early years setting could be the only nutritious meals they receive during the week.

“Providers are well aware of their responsibilities in this important area, but they need access to realistic financial support and guidance to be able to deliver this.”

Responses will be used to support efforts to influence government policy with the aim of improving early years food provision and funding. All individual survey responses will be kept anonymous.

June O’Sullivan, chief executive of LEYF, said: "By serving all children healthy and nutritious meals, early years settings can play a crucial role in ensuring they get the essential balanced nourishment required for growth and development.

“However, the sector is not sufficiently supported to provide such high-quality, accessible and affordable meals to the one and a half million children who attend early years settings each year.

“This is why our new survey will hopefully deliver fresh evidence on food provision across the sector and highlight its key challenges so that we can lobby for positive change in government policy and improve in children's health."

The full story, as reported by daynurseries.co.uk can be found here.

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