Children & Young People's Workforce L2

TDA 2.14: Support children and young people at meal or snack time

This unit is about promoting a healthy diet in children and young people.
A healthy diet consists of balanced nutrients:

  • Protein

  • Vitamins

  • Minerals

  • Carbohydrate

  • Fats

It is important to gain knowledge of the benefits of healthy eating and the negative consequences of poor eating habits. Factors such as medical conditions, allergies, cultural and religious dietary needs should also be considered when planning children's meals.

The table below illustrates the natural source of the nutrients, function of the nutrients, and the consequences of its deficiency.

Five main food groups

Nutrient Food Function Deficiency
Protein Meat: lamb, beef, veal and pork
Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck
Fish: salmon, sardines, cod, tuna
Pulses/lentils: beans, dal
Nuts: almonds, cashew, peanuts
Cottage cheese, milk, eggs, dates
Needed for growth and tissue repair. Slow growth in children.
Muscle weakness.

Wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissue.
Carbohydrates Potatoes: chips, mash, roast, Pasta: macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, lasagne.
Rice: fried, biryani, kedgeree
Flour: bread, chapatti, cakes
Cereal: porridge, cornflakes
Provides energy. Fatigue
Loss of concentration
Mood swings
Fats Butter, oil, ghee, margarine, cream cheese, fried food, cakes, biscuits Provides warmth and energy.

Helps the brain and nervous system develop correctly.

Necessary for insulating all nervous system tissues in the body.

Helps the body absorb vitamins A,D, and E.

Are the building blocks of hormones.
Cause hair and skin to become flaky.

Lowers IQ and cause mental illnesses.

Too much fat: can lead to overweight / obesity.

Can raise cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease
Fibre Cereal, beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice, couscous, pasta, bread Helps to keep a healthy bowel. Lack of fibre in diet may cause constipation.

Vitamins for a healthy diet

Vitamin Food Function Deficiency
Vitamin A Carrots, cabbage, spinach, aubergine, okra, eggs, liver, milk and dairy products. Counteracts night blindness / weak eye sight.
Builds resistance to respiratory infections.
Promotes strong bones, healthy skin, hair, teeth /gums.
Night blindness
B1, B2, B6, B12 Beef, pork, liver, kidney, milk, eggs, cheese, leafy green vegetables wheat bran, rice, husk, oatmeal, Needed for the formation of red blood cells and antibodies.
Keeps normal function of nervous system, muscles and heart.
B12 promotes growth and Increase appetite in children. Increase energy.
Beriberi Anaemia, dermatitis
C Mangoes, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, pears and apples, guava, tomatoes green and leafy vegetables, and potatoes. Prevents scurvy (skin condition).
Heals wounds, burns and bleeding.
Aids in treatment and prevention of common colds.
Scurvy ( skin condition)
Common colds
D Milk, cheese, cream, yogurt sardines, salmon, eggs Formation of healthy bones. Rickets and arthritis in adulthood.

Essential minerals for a healthy diet

Mineral Food Function Deficiency
Calcium Milk, cheese, yoghurt, sardines, salmon, nuts, green vegetables, dried beans , soya beans Maintain strong bones and healthy teeth.

Alleviate insomnia
Rickets, brittle bones, osteoporosis, tooth decay.
Magnesium Green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, bananas, yogurt Keeps healthy immune system.
Maintain normal muscle and nerve function

Promotes a healthy heart
Tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite, arrhythmia, anaemia, cramps, mood swings, irritability,
Potassium Bananas, potatoes, citrus fruits, green vegetables. Reduces blood sugar / blood pressure.
Helps dissolve body waste.
Oedema (swelling caused by fluid in body tissues:
feet, ankles and legs.

Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level)
Iron Beef, lamb , liver, fish , eggs, pulses Carries oxygen to the cells.
Necessary for the production of haemoglobin in red blood cells.

Prevents fatigue.
Lack of iron may cause fatigue or anaemia.
Zinc Prawns, round steak, lamb chops, pork loin, eggs , spinach, blueberry Maintains a healthy immune system.

Accelerate healing time for internal and external wounds.
Lack of zinc may cause more colds and weak in fighting off infection.

Click on the links below to access information on:

Food allergy

Food intolerance

Healthy meals

Nutritional guidance for early years

Food policies in nursery settings:

  • Children and staff must wash hands before and after mealtimes and snack times. Children must learn about good hygiene at meal times.

  • Tables must be cleaned and all children must be seated when they are eating or drinking to avoid choking.

  • All children must be supervised at all meal and snack times. Children with allergies need to sit separately and must have staff sit next to them.

  • Food temperature should always be tasted before feeding children. Staff members are not allowed to blow on children's food.

  • Children are not allowed to bring packed lunches.

  • All foods must be labelled and check children's special dietary needs before serving.

Find out about the food policies in your work setting
that you can add to the list above.

Ways to make food appealing to children:

  • Use imagination - cutting pizza into different shapes such as star, heart or animal shapes

  • Present food on the plate in the form of a face.

  • Use bright colour vegetables to brighten the dish.

  • Give children healthy food such as raisins and other dried fruit as a treat.

  • Introduce a variety of food from different cultures.

  • Provide variety of foods and give children freedom to choose the quantity.

  • Sit and eat with the children so that you can encourage them to eat vegetables.

Can you think of other ways you can make food
more attractive to children?

How to encourage children and young people
to make healthier food choices

  • Present food in bite size so it is easier to eat.

  • Present food in creative and interesting way.

  • Use favourite cartoon character to make it look fun.

  • Be a role model so that they will copy what you eat.

  • Involve children in cooking and kitchen preparation.

  • Teach them about the goodness of eating healthy: makes them grow and gives energy.

Benefits of healthy eating:

  • Prevents obesity

  • Reduces risk of diabetes

  • Promotes fitness

  • Provides energy

  • Sleeps well

  • Optimizes brain function

  • Promotes fitness

Consequences of unhealthy diet:

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Tooth decay

  • Nutritional anaemia

  • High blood pressure

  • Lethargy

  • Poor growth and physical development.

  • Poor concentrations affecting development of cognitive skills.


DFE (2014) Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

DFE (2014). Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage

DEF(2014). Early years (under 5s) foundation stage framework (EYFS)

DFE (2014) Keeping children safe in Out of hours provisions

DFE(2014) Early Years Outcomes

Parents - guide to EYFS (2014)

What to expect and when (2014)

The British Association for Early Childhood Education
(Supported by DFE)

Every Child Matters 2003)

Effective Pre-school and Primary Education 3-11 Project (2003-2008)

DFE (2008) Effective Pre-School and Primary Education 3-11 Project (EPPE 3-11)

Parliament (2003) Every Child Matters

Tassoni et al (2010) Level 3 Diploma Children and Young People's
Workforce (Early Learning and Childcare). Pearson: Harlow Essex

Caroline Meggit et al (2011) CACHE Level 3 Children and Young People's
Workforce Diploma: Early Learning and Child Care.
Hodder Education: London