NEW: New Menu FAQs

22nd September 2021

We are always looking at ways we can improve the quality and nutrition of our menus. That’s why we seek expert advice from specialist baby and child nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed. Charlotte assesses our menus to ensure we are not only meeting the recommended Government guidelines but that we are going above and beyond these guidelines to achieve a standard of excellence in early years nutrition.
 Here are some of your questions answered

 What are the biggest changes that you have made to the lunch menu?

  • Puddings at lunchtime are now referred to as second courses
  • We have reformulated many of our second course recipes to reduce sugar content and improve the nutritional value of these dishes.

But children really enjoy a traditional pudding at the end of lunch. Why have you done this?!

In the UK we know that children are consuming too much added sugar. At Zebedees we want to ensure we are doing the very best for children’s health and nutrition but also for supporting healthy eating habits in later life. By reducing the sugar content and the sweetness of our menus we are not only supporting children’s physical and dental health, we are also setting an example that second courses do not always have to be ‘sweet treats’.

The expectation that puddings and desserts are always something sweet (and often used as a reward for eating well at the main meal) does not support a healthy relationship with food. It can make the second course more appealing in the eyes of the child. Instead of fuelling this idea that puddings are more desirable we feel it’s important to challenge this association and help promote the idea that all foods are equal and that our bodies need lots of different food to keep them healthy.

Making subtle changes such as changing the language from pudding to second course we can support the idea that second courses are equally important nutritionally and will never be used as a reward, prize, or bribe.

I’ve read that you are reducing the number of cold tea items from four to three? I am worried the children will still be hungry with one less item. How can you justify this?

Our teas previously consisted of four items. These were usually two savoury items, a vegetable based item and a dessert item. As part of our commitment to reducing sugar across all of our menus, we have created a range of new savoury dishes for Item 1, which will be a larger portion size, and form the main part of the meal. We are producing two side dishes to accompany the main item, which are a further savoury item and a fruit based item. This may be a portion of fruit, for example Orange Slices, or one of our new dishes such as the Natural Yoghurt & Raspberry Swirl. A portion of vegetables is also included within one of the savoury items each day.  This ensures our teas still reach all nutritional targets and provide the same quantity of food as previously. The new tea model also enables us to reduce the amount of disposable containers we use for packaging our teas.

(You can read more about our ethical credentials on our About page)

But why do I need to serve all three items on the same plate? I used to give the last item at the end as a dessert.

We believe that by serving sweeter tasting foods, such as fruit and yoghurt, alongside more savoury items children learn that all foods are equal and second courses do not become the prize or reward that comes after the savoury foods.

You say that your new menu exceeds current Government Guidance. Can you give me 3 examples of how you have done this?

Yes!

Fruits & Vegetables

  • What the Government recommends: Provide at least one portion of vegetables and/or fruits as part of each main meal
  • What Zebedees do: At least 5 different fruits and/or vegetables are offered each day

 Starchy Foods

  • What the Government recommends: 3 different types of starchy foods provided across each week
  • What Zebedees do: At least 8 different types of starchy food provided across the week

 Protein

  • What the Government recommends: Meat products (such as sausages and meatballs) no more than once a week
  • What Zebedees do: Processed meat products such as sausages are limited as much as possible and are included just twice in the 3-week menu. Sausages are carefully sourced to ensure a high quality and contain at least 80% meat

Nurseries can download the full version of our Nutritional Guidelines from the ‘Documents’ area in your ZOO account.

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