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Free Healthy Nursery Meals


A two-course lunch should comply with the following guidelines and the Southwark Council dessert policy. If the main school lunches meet these guidelines then a good option would be to serve smaller portions in the nursery class.

Main course guidelines

Over a week’s menu there should be:

  • Three different starchy foods, preferably wholegrain varieties
  • At least one portion of fruit or vegetables with every meal, with a variety across the week
  • A portion of protein each day. This could be beans, pulses, fish, eggs or meat (red meat or poultry) to provide a variety across the week
  • A meat free day once a week, using alternatives such as pulses or beans
  • One portion of sustainable oily fish (salmon, sardines, pilchards) at least once every 3 weeks
  • Limit fried starchy foods to a maximum of once a week

Public Health England have a range of example menus for early years settings that meet the above guidance.

Top tips for a sustainable menu

  • Have fewer meat dishes
  • Use sustainable fish
  • Avoid processed food
  • Use seasonal produce
  • Base meals and snacks on locally sourced foods
  • Reduce the use of dairy products
  • Include more pulses, beans and lentils
  • Aim for snacks to be fruit and vegetable based

Sustain have lots of information to help with making sustainable food choices

First Steps Nutrition have produced a detailed guide on healthy and sustainable diets in early years


  • Balance the most commonly served snack of fruit by serving raw vegetables several times a week
  • To make fruit and vegetable snacks appealing and easy to eat cut them up and present in a way so that children can make positive choices
    EYFS snacks image
    Snacks presented in an appealling easy to eat way: Cookwise