Food is an extremely important part of life at Simba’s Den and is viewed with the upmost importance. Each meal time is carefully planned and viewed of as an important social time for all the children. We strongly believe that good traditional meal times are essential for children in later years and many key skills can be learnt through food times.
The most important starting point for us is getting the right balance; this is giving children a taste for a variety of different foods and textures. Whilst I have extensive training in nutrition and dietetics the menu and food choices at Simba’s Den come from us observing the children and allowing them the choice.
We have recently created a six week rotation menu, we started off with three weeks and felt the cycle came round too quick, we then went to four weeks but after observing the children during our ‘trying new food week’ we couldn’t fit all our popular meals in so changed to a six week rotation.
We have trying weeks throughout the year where we try a new meal to see how the children enjoy it and continually adapt and offer new meals through this process. We never completely change the menus as this can be unsettling for children so instead decide to continually introduce new meals slowly and after trials.
My Mum (Karen) does the cooking at Simba’s Den and the kitchen is located just off the main room. Karen is a very important part of the nursery and is called “Nanny Karen” by the majority of children. Karen gets to know the children very well and even little touches like putting custard on the side of a plate, or serving food on a ‘blue plate’ is very important for children at this age.
Karen presents all food extremely well and puts an element of choice in to each meal where ever possible. For example, children are able to serve themselves up seconds, choose which fruit they would like from the fruit bowl or create their own sandwiches.
The staff at Simba’s Den eat with the children who have a choice as to where to sit after washing their hands and finding their name/ place mat. Our outside eating is extremely popular too!