Polykids - Food and Nutrition

Approval Date
1 February 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
1 August 2024
Manager: Polykids Childcare Centre

To uphold the health, safety, and wellbeing of children at Polykids by ensuring we meet children’s nutritional needs and encourage children’s health and wellbeing through sound nutritional practices and messages.



Food Act 2014                                     

Food Regulations 2015                                     

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008                                       

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015


Licensing criteria:         

HS19 Food and Nutrition                                             

HS20 Food Hygiene                                             

HS21 Drinking Water                                     

HS22 Supervision While Eating                                           

HS23 Bottle Feeding


National guidelines: Te Whāriki:

Empowerment / Whakamana

·  Children are empowered to make choices about healthy food and nutrition to ensure that all children understand the connection between healthy food and having a healthy body.

Holistic Development / Kotahitanga

·  Making healthy food and nutrition choices that affect all aspects of children’s learning and development.

Family and Community / Whānau Tangata

·  The wider world of family and community is an integral part of Polykids, and we respect and value our diverse community’s beliefs and values

·  Promoting healthy food messages to children, their parents and whānau

Relationships / Ngā Hononga

·  Learning about healthy food and nutrition through discussions, growing, harvesting, and sharing vegetables.

·  Discussions regarding healthy food choices whilst enjoying a shared meal together.

  • Polykids employs a cook to prepare, plan and serve our meals.
  • The guidelines of the NZ Heart Foundation and Ministry of Health Nutritional Guidelines for Under Fives are utilised when planning our meals and identifying foods suitable for our children.
  • Our menu aims to provide 50% of a child’s daily nutritional requirement for those attending the service for a full day. The menu rotates on a two-week roster and variations to the daily menu will be noted on signage beside the kitchen.
  • A record will be kept of all meals served to children showing the type of food provided. The record will be kept and available for inspection for a period of three months after a meal has been served.
  • Healthy food will be promoted in the programme through a variety of ways such as discussion, cooking and baking with the children, and through activities such as games or growing our own produce.
  • Staff are encouraged to attend professional development opportunities around food health and nutrition.
  • Parents and caregivers can support Polykids by offering healthy foods at home.
  • Polykids has an optional food charge when children turn three years old and start utilising the 20 Hours ECE. Parents who choose not to pay the optional food charge are required to provide all meals and snacks for their child whilst booked at Polykids. Meals and snacks must meet the Heart Foundation Healthy Heart criteria.
  • Polykids is registered, verified, and works under a National Programme Level 2 as outlined by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

-  Records are maintained as required by the MPI including cleaning and sanitising, managing waste, pest control, temperature control, problems with food safety or suitability.


Food is prepared, served, and stored hygienically in compliance with the MPI guidelines:

  • Staff preparing food are trained in food safety and handling requirements.
  • Temperature checks are regularly carried out on food and equipment.
  • Raw food is prepared and stored separately to cooked foods.
  • Colour coded chopping boards are used to prevent cross contamination.
  • Hand washing and general hygiene routines are observed by all adults and children when handling food and before mealtimes.
  • Any infant milk formula to be given to children must be provided by the child’s parent. Formula will be labelled and dated when opened. Bottles will be labelled, sterilised, and stored hygienically between uses.


Food is served at appropriate times to meet the nutritional needs children whilst they are attending the Centre.

  • Polykids has split morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch times to cater for all children within the Centre.
  • Children under two can eat to their own routines as and when required.


Drinking water is available to children at all times.

  • Children are offered water at all mealtimes and throughout the day.
  • Drinking water is available in the over two area for children to serve themselves.


Children are supervised while eating.

  • All children are actively supervised whilst eating.
  • There will always be a staff member with a first aid certificate in attendance at mealtimes.
  • Staff will familiarise themselves with the correct techniques to manage choking in infants and toddlers. The correct techniques for managing chocking in infants, toddlers and children are displayed in the dining room.
  • Children will sit down together at tables or in highchairs whilst eating.
  • Infants under the age of 6 months and other children unable to drink independently are held semi-upright when being fed.
  • Children will be encouraged to become independent and learn self-help skills at mealtimes.
  • Teachers will role model healthy eating for children by sitting at the tables and sharing the meal with the children.
  • Children are encouraged to converse during mealtimes regarding food and nutrition and the benefits of good nutrition on growth and development.
  • Children and staff are expected to demonstrate acceptable table manners.
  • If children are disruptive at mealtimes they will be reminded about acceptable behaviour. If the disruption continues the child will be asked to leave the table and will be able to return to the table and when ready to continue the meal with appropriate behaviour. For further information regarding behaviour management within the Centre please see our Positive Guidance Policy
  • If food is refused, encouragement is offered. If food is still refused, it will be offered later when the child may then be hungry.
  • Children are empowered by having control over their food intake.
  • Staff will discuss any concerns regarding meals with parents and caregivers.


Allergies and special dietary requirements are the shared responsibility of the child’s family and the Centre staff. Communication between all parties is vital.

  • Medical certificates detailing allergies and special dietary requirements due to intolerance are requested.
  • A food plan is drawn up with the child’s family and the health nurse if required for medical reasons.
  • Information regarding food allergies or dietary requirements will be made available for staff and displayed in the kitchen and dining area.
  • Staff will inform themselves of children’s dietary requirements and/or allergies.
  • Polykids staff will ensure children with allergies are served the correct meals.
  • Food for children with allergies is prepared individually and labelled. Whilst all care will be taken to ensure that meals for children with dietary requirements are prepared according to their needs, parents must be aware that the kitchen is used to prepare all the Centre food and a specific allergy free area is not available. Furthermore, products may be used that have been produced in a facility that may also process food containing nuts, gluten, milk, soy etc.
  • If allergies are life threatening a special health management plan will be put in place. Registered teachers will have training in the administration of adrenalin: (Epipen). An emergency contact and medical plan will be in place.
  • Polykids do not include nuts or nut products within our menu.  Children bringing lunchboxes to Centre are able to include nuts and nut products in their child’s lunch box. This is to enable parents to provide for their child’s nutritional requirements when they are not utilising the Polykids menu. Nuts must be suitably contained within the lunchbox.
  • Polykids offers either soy, oat or rice milk to children with dairy intolerances. Parents of children with dairy intolerances are able to provide almond milk, if preferred, for their child. This will be labelled and kept in the kitchen to be served by staff to that specific child only.