Eligible working families whose children will be aged between 9 and 23 months old on 31 August can now apply to receive 15 hours childcare starting from September 2024.

Find out more information on the Childcare Choices website

Early Years

Healthy eating in Schools and Settings

Healthy eating in Schools and Settings

Children’s food preferences and eating habits are formed early in life with consequences for a range of health and development outcomes in later life. It is therefore important that the food offered in early years and school settings provides appropriate amounts of energy and nutrients and encourages the development of healthy eating habits in young children, both to support appropriate growth and development, and as part of national priorities to reduce childhood obesity and ensure every child has the best start in life.

Early years foundation stage statutory framework

Where children are provided with meals, snacks, and drinks, these must be healthy, balanced and nutritious.  Fresh drinking water must always be available and accessible to children. 

Example menus for early years settings in England: part 1 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Example menus for early years settings in England: part 2 (publishing.service.gov.uk)



Consider the following:

  • How do children gain knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy
  • How do children make informed choices about healthy eating, and fitness
  • What steps have you taken to ensure there is a whole school approach to healthy eating?
  • Who is responsible on the senior management team and governing body for healthy food provision and food education?
  • How do you know food is tasty and meets the food standards across the whole day?
  • What advice is provided for those who choose not to take a school lunch, for example, a healthy packed lunch policy?
  • How do you measure progress of children’s knowledge and skills about healthy eating?
  • How do you make learning about healthy eating, including nutrition advice and practical cooking, possible for all students and across subjects?
  • How does the school link healthy eating within the wider personal development, behaviour and welfare judgment?
  • What continuing professional development (CPD) and training is in place for all teachers and support staff to support their knowledge of health and wellbeing?


Further resources and information:

Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives

Obesity Profile: November 2023 update - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Creating a culture and ethos of healthy eating - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Working in partnership with parents

Here you will find activity suggestions and resources to engage with parents and carers. 

Parental engagement - Food A Fact Of Life

For more information on the School Food regulations, please see School food standards: resources for schools - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Was this page helpful?

Very poor
Neither good nor poor
Very good