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Nursery food - could you give examples of what your child is given?

(22 Posts)
circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 10:26:30

DCs' nursery is about to start providing food - since it started a few years ago it's been one of those which ask you to send in lunch and tea with the child, so it's a new thing for all concerned.

I saw the planned menu today and felt uninspired. There's lots of macaroni cheese, soup, mince and sausages. No other meat - no chicken all month, in fact. Fish in the form of fishcakes, mostly, with occasional fish pie.

Um, am I being a bit PFB (and second born, too!) about this? On the one hand I can understand that appealling to lots of children and mass catering could make the menu a bit humdrum, but on the other hand I can't help thinking that I can make much better food myself for less money.

Could any of you give me some ideas of what your children are eating at eat-in nurseries?

cuttingmeownthroatdibblaaaargh Mon 27-Oct-08 10:34:13

Mine has things like: chicken and mushroom pie, fish cakes, tomato pasta, lasagna, cheese and potato pie, sausage casserole, chilli, sausage and mash, pizza, tuna pasta bake, jacket potato, cottage pie, fish pie, risotto, roast dinner (I had his latest finished comunication book in front of me there). Pretty much they have roast one day, sausage in some form another, pasta, jacket potato, and pie/bake another each week, but the days vary, and they do vary it with the season. For tea they have sandwiches/crackers/soup/toast sort of thing.

Iloveautumn Mon 27-Oct-08 10:36:52

I am hesitant to post as we are so lucky with ds' nursery, but it will give you an idea of what the top end of the spectrum is.

The nursery has their own vegetarian chef and they get freshly cooked, nutritionally balanced vegetarian food every day. Eg, veggie chilli, bean/cheese enchiladas, gnochi and tomato sauce, vege stew with dumplings, lasagne.

They also have a cooked pudding (apple sponge, rice pudding, etc) and freshly cooked snacks at snack time along with fresh fruit.

Frankly I worry more about what he gets at home!!!

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 10:45:06

Thanks. I suppose what I want is a bit of perspective, but also suggestions of what they can do that have worked in a nursery setting. So things that I give the DCs which are missing are things like chilli, stew and dumplings, roasts, risottos, tuna bakes - was just wondering if I was being unrealistic suggesting that to them.

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 10:45:33

And from the posts so far, the answer to that is no!

WitchWorley Mon 27-Oct-08 10:57:54

i have ds2's book here too,
for the past few weeks he has eaten pasta carbonara with garlic bread then ice cram and fresh fruit,
chicken hotpot with mashed swede and then tapioca,
sausage pie, potaotes, cauliflower then fresh fruit and yoghurt,
liver & onions, cramed potatoes and cabbage and then fresh fruit,
three bean casserole with pasta, then bread and butter pudding with custard.
chickpea curry & naan bread then yoghurts.
tuna & broccoli bake, fruit pie and custard.
vegetable stirfry and noodles, fresh fruit.
fishpie, vegetables & banana custard.

they also get a selection of fresh fruit, cheese and sometimes a biscuit or crackers.
they have their own little kitchen and chef who is really good and has no problems catering for the little ones with allergies. when ds2 had his milk allegry he would cook separatley for him and use things that i took in for him such as dairy free cheese sauce and gravy.

at ds1's nursery they were next to a college and the college canteen used to cook for them, their it was nearly always something with chips/smiles etc so he had a packed lunch everyday.

SpookyButNice Mon 27-Oct-08 10:59:43

I would say it depends how much you're paying as to whether it would be unreasonable to expect top notch freshly cooked meals using the best ingredients, but it's not unreasonable to expect there to be a varied selection of foods offered.

Personally I do think it's important that DS gets good quality food at nursery so we're paying for the privilege - his nursery has all the food cooked freshly on site and there's vegetarian and carnivore options. There's a rolling 2 week menu with all manner of things on it.

[Total ponce alert] - when we looked round, they'd just had the weekly food/nappy delivery from Waitrose - that was one of the clinchers grin

WitchWorley Mon 27-Oct-08 11:00:23

how are they going to provide this food? do they have a kitchen already, and who is going to be making this food? just wondered.

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 11:07:37

The existing nursery staff are planning the menu and doing the cooking - they've taken the necessary food hygiene certificates and so on. They do have a kitchen already - up until now it's been used for snack and heating the food we send.

The cost is two pounds per meal, which I don't think is cheap, if I'm honest.

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 11:08:59

I'm liking the idea of chicken hotpot and a mild curry, too.

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 11:24:37

So am thinking that my approach will be to ask if they're going to start expanding and varying the menu once they're into the swing of the new regime, and to offer some suggestions.

Haven't been told what's planned for tea, but from my own experience and what other people have said does it seem reasonable to say that soup and sandwiches are more appropriate for tea than lunch? It's down for lunch twice in one week...

cuttingmeownthroatdibblaaaargh Mon 27-Oct-08 11:28:01

At DS's old nursery they did have soup for lunch once a month or so, but it was a big chunky meat and veg soup with bread that was all homemade. At current nursery they only have soup for tea sometimes. Lunch is always a big meal with a cooked pudding, and tea sort of high tea. They have a dedicated chef btw

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 11:31:31

Mmm, that's giving me food for thought, too. I've only ever heard of nurseries with a dedicated chef.

rebelmum1 Mon 27-Oct-08 11:33:06

It's not great is it but not too awful? Just cut to the chase, and tell them what you think should be on there and what you think's missing. Is it homemade or are they reheating? Should have a few casseroles and white meat

ExtraFancy Mon 27-Oct-08 11:41:31

Mine has things like chicken curry and rice/sausage hotpot/lamb stew for lunch, and something like crumpets and cheese/fish fingers/sandwiches/stuffed pittas for tea. He gets fresh fruit for pudding at least once a day, and usually a hot pudding with his lunch - things like jam sponge/custard/crumble etc.

They have a chef who makes all the food, and he eats it all up usually without fail. If they are a good nursery, I think they'd be glad of suggestions!

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 11:42:53

That's it, exactly - not great, but not awful. It's cooked from scratch - just limited.

As you say, I'll say what I think should be on there. I wanted to ask here, though, so that I don't go suggesting meals that just aren't practical. And will keep it to one or two.

rebelmum1 Mon 27-Oct-08 11:49:44

soup's a great meal as long as there is plenty of substance to it.

ExtraFancy Mon 27-Oct-08 11:52:11

Big batches of casserole/hotpot/pasta sauce/chili con carne etc should be fairly easy to make, with the bonus of being more economical too.

EachPeachPearMum Mon 27-Oct-08 13:08:45

We too are very lucky with DD's nursery- they have a chef, and food is all organic and freshly prepared each day.
The range is excellent- which I think is important- there are children of many ethnicities, and it encourages them to try everything, even unfamiliar foods ands tastes.

They have a good menu plan system too, so they rarely have meals repeated within 2 or 3 weeks.

jaz2 Mon 27-Oct-08 19:49:45

I would expect the food to be cooked by a dedicated chef. My DS has most of the things that others have mentionned, but they also give them pilchard bolognese and some other oily fish - which there is no way I would manage to feed him at home (I'm ashamed to say). Pleny of fresh fruit as well (for snacks and deserts) and some gorgeous sounding puddings.

Sometimes they go through a bad patch: a few too many cheese/ham sandwiches, hot dogs and pizza, but then they redeem themselves.

circlesquare Mon 27-Oct-08 20:56:35

I don't think there are many Mums out there who could manage to feed their children pilchard bolognese! Hats off to that nursery, indeed.

I had a brief chat tonight with the manager, who said before I did that it's repetitive to begin with until they get into the swing, and that after the first few weeks they're going to start expanding the repertoire to casseroles and mild chicken curries and other such stuff.

So thanks, all. I'll probably collate this lot into a list of suggestions for the future...

EachPeachPearMum Mon 27-Oct-08 22:48:59

Pilchard bolognese? hmm ermmmm, don't think you'd catch me eating that one <boak> grin

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