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UK Government Guidelines on Food and Nutrition

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 2642 words Published: 30th Oct 2017

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“Nutrition is the term used for the science or study of food and how the body uses the constituent s of food” (Carolyn C., Food Nutrition and How the Body Works, P.23)

Children require the right amount of vitamins and minerals to promote healthy development, therefore the UK government has set guidelines for babies and children’ food consumption to promote healthy development.

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK. The Food Standards Agency works closely with local authority enforcement officers to make sure food law is applied throughout the food chain. The Food standards Agency enforces good food hygiene through the hygiene rating and a child care provider must be able to perform to a good rating. The rating is from a scale of 0 – 5.

The main government guidelines on food and nutrition can be identified in the table below;




Breast milk or infant formula is the only food that a child needs from birth to 6-months. In the child care setting breast milk must be properly stored to prevent food poising .Adequate sterilization and hygiene must be maintained for both breast milk and infant formula.

Various ranges of prepared food and cereals are available for baby consumption and these could also be prepared and pureed at home, frozen into ice cube trays and used when needed.

Along with healthy fruits and cereal snacks, breast milk and infant formula can still be given.

For hungry babies weaning process begin ealier, though government guidelines states that solid food should be introduced after 6months.Child care provider has to avoid some food types such as –Eggs, Liver, fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds, wheat and gluten-based food, unpasteurised and soft cheese.

Babies diet should include milk and dairy, fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and beans, rice, potatoes and starchy foods and these should be observed by the child care provider in a child care setting for healthy living

The recommended guideline for serving of solid food portion from 9 months is ;

  • 2 servings per day of meat, fish, eggs and pulses
  • 3 to 4 servings per day of fruit and vegetables
  • 3 to 4 servings per day of potatoes, bread and rice.

Vitamins drops may still be given to supplement the vitamins A , C , and D got from food as advised by the Department of Health to prevent children lacking these vitamins.


Vitamin A –helps children to see in dim light, supports and strengthen the immune system and ensure healthy skin.


Vitamin C – helps the absorption of iron and supports immune system.


Vitamin D – helps strengthen bones and assist the absorption of calcium.


All these must be maintained by the child care provider to achieve healthy lifestyle for the children.


Any food and drink provided by the childcare setting should be properly prepared, nutritious and comply with any special dietary requirements. (Teena K, Children’s Care Learning and Development, P.128)

Government guidance on food considered to be unsuitable for babies and young children is key for both parents and child care providers. The food type that is unsuitable for babies and young children are sugar, honey, Nuts, Eggs, Raw shellfish, Foods low in Fat, Swordfish, Shark and Marlin.

Sugar- causes acid erosion which is the main cause of tooth decay in children. Young children should avoid sugar especially sugary drinks and snack which are majorly in pre-packed convenience foods. Child care provider must ensure that children are encouraged to take only water and milk and avoid fizzy drinks and sugary snacks to prevent tooth decay which affects the milk teeth. Good.

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Honey – It is naturally believed that this liquid gold is better for consumption that white refined sugars but for infant below 1 year of age, ingesting honey is unsuitable for their health and wellbeing. Honey may be contaminated by bacteria called Clostridium botulinum though not harmful to adult but grows in the gastrointestinal track of babies below 1 year and cause a medical condition called Infant Botulism. One of the symptoms is constipation, child failing to feed and later lethargy which manifest months after consumption of spores, which grows in the gastro-intestinal track of infant as they grow and releases toxins into the bloodstream. Infant Botulism in babies can be treated with artificial Ventilation in incubator and a drug named botullinum Immunoglobulin (BabyBIG).

Salt – It is one of United Kingdom’ most excessively consumed minerals. Salt is dangerous for babies because their kidney cannot process the salt the way an adult’ kidneys can. It is important for parents’ and child care providers to prepare food for babies at home and avoid processed convenience foods, as recommended in the guidelines by Food Standards Agency in the salt consumption table below;

The recommended maximum daily salt intake for infant children and adult


Target average salt intake (g/d)

0-6 months

Less than 1







7-10 years


11 years+


Nuts – Nuts can cause choking hazard in children under 5years especially whole nuts. From NHS information, percentage of population affected by peanut allergy is 1%.Childcare provider must ensure that children with allergy reaction to nuts or who have siblings with allergy to nuts should not be given nuts with parental consent.

Eggs – Eggs should be avoided for babies below 6months, especially if a family member has egg allergy. Babies’ delicate intestinal system reacts to protein in eggs up to the age of 6months and after 6months child care provider must ensure that egg is well cooked to reduce the risk of salmonella infection in eggs which causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

Swordfish, Shark and Marlin – These have levels of mercury which can be detrimental to the growth of a baby’ nervous system. If the recommended limit is exceeded, it allows a toxic build-up in children and adverse effect on the central nervous system and cause impairments in movement and cognitive brain function by displacement of essential neurons.

Foods low in fat – Children should be given whole milk yoghurt fromage frais, as children get essential nutrients and energy from foods containing fat and this is not present in low fat food. The fat containing food can be slowly reduced after the age of 2years.

Raw Shellfish – shellfish should be avoided in children as it is allergenic and contains salmonella bacteria that cause food poisoning. It should be avoided until older age.


Child record form for a new child in child care setting with specific dietary requirements;


To be completed and signed by the parent/guardian/carer and given to the childminder.

Child’s nameJoy Idara

Date of birth23/11/2009

Home address44 Well road, Colchester, Essex

Post CodeCO4 0AZ

Telephone number 074

Parent/Guardian/Carer’s NameEsse Idara

Address (if different from above) ___________________________________________________________

Place of work Milnet, Colchester

Work number 01206………………


Parent/Guardian/Carer’s NameMatt Idara

Address (if different from above) ___________________________________________________________

Place of workBaka Mill, Colchester

Work number 01206………………..


Who to contact in an emergency (other than Parent/guardian/carer) Mary Band

Telephone number 074……………..

Name of person who will collect childEsse Idara

Other persons who may collect childMatt Idara

Further information (if necessary) _________________________________________________________

Child’s doctorRaymond Rock

AddressMain Surgery, Ipswich road, colchester

Telephone number01206…………..

Immunisation/Vaccinations: Has the child been fully immunised against: YES/NO

Diphtheria Whooping cough -yes

Tetanus -yes

Polio -yes

Measles -yes

Mumps -yes

Rubella -yes

Hib Meningitis - yes


Special Diet/ Allergies/ Health problems/ Childhood illnessesJoy is allergic to cow milk and so must not take cow milk or come in contact with a cow as this can cause allergic reaction by swelling of throat and mouth, or burn on skin.

If there is an emergency due to ingestion, administer adrenaline through an Epi-pen as prescribed by her Doctor this is kept in her locked container. This should be administered by a properly trained person.


Anything else the childminder should know about your child e.g. likes dislikes, fears, comfort items, Special words ___________________________________________________________________________


PARENT/GUARDIAN/CARER Signature _____________________________ Date ________________

Note that this form should be documented accurately in case of emergency and for first aid administration and treatment


Chronic Disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured. Most chronic diseases do not resolve spontaneously, and are generally not cured completely. Some can be immediately life-threatening; others can persist over time and can be intensive in terms of management (e.g. diabetes). Most chronic diseases persist in an individual through life, but are not always the cause of death.

Children suffer from various chronic diseases which can have effect on their physical and mental development. Some childhood chronic diseases which can affect development are; Diabetes, Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis and Cerebral Palsy.

Diabetes – “Diabetes is a lifelong condition thatcauses a person's blood sugar level to become too high” (NHS Choices, Health A-Z, Diabetes). It is caused by having too much glucose in the blood and has two types. Type 1 is diagnosed in adolescence and controlled by insulin injection, Type 2 diagnosed in adulthood and controlled through diet and tablets.

Development can be adversely affected by diabetes retinopathy, in which damage occurs to the blood vessel in the retina which can impair a child’ vision and damage the eyes, thereby affecting the physical and intellectual development due to loss of sight. Also, diabetes nephropathy causes complication to the feet and if sores and blisters to the fee are not treated infection can occur and result in nerve damage to the feet.

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Asthma – Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs which can be effectively controlled in most children. Asthma affects the airways, when a child comes in contact with something that irritates their lungs know as trigger such as tobacco smoke, pollen or allergy like pet hair, their airways narrow, the lining becomes inflamed, the muscles around them tighten, and there is an increase in the production of sticky mucus or phlegm. This makes it difficult to breathe and causes symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Some of the medication for the treatment of asthma is preventer and reliever inhaler, and steroid medication.

Asthma can affect emotional and intellectual development, for instance if a child is always absent from school to get treatment for the disease, this in turn affects the child’ target in school by missing work at school.

Cystic Fibrosis - Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become cloggedwith thick sticky mucus. It is an inherited chronic health condition that affects a child’ internal organ particularly the lungs. This causes pancreatic problems resulting into poor digestion of food and leading to poor development by inadequate growth as a result of malnutrition. Cystic fibrosis can be treated with range of therapies, including medication, diet, and physiotherapy to remove mucus from the lungs.

Cerebral Palsy - Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain, that usually occurs before, during or after a child is born. Cerebral palsy refers to group of neurological conditions such as muscle problems, speech impairment and stiffness on one side of the body.

Cerebral palsy affects children in many ways such as children having mobility problems, and some requiring lifelong care. This affects physically, emotional and intellectual development through hearing and visual impairment and delayed growth. Also, it can cause serious distress for those caring for the child. Help and support to parents and those caring for children is available on NHS choices website.

Reference List

Carolyn Childs, 2001, Food and Nutrition in the Early Years, UK, Hodder & Stoughton

Marilyn B.Dawn R. and Katty W. , 1999, Early Years Care, UK, Hodder & Stoughton

NHS Choices, Health A-Z (www.nhs.uk)

Teena Kamen, 2007, Children’s Care Learning and Development, UK, Hodder Arnold

Tina B& Carolyn M, 2006, Understanding the Behaviour of Children, UK, Hodder Education


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