Little Lunches for Nursery's

How it works

Step 1: Order

Let us know how many meals you need for each day along with how many puree boxes and mixed fruit boxes you need for the week.

Step 2: Personalise

Tell us about any allergens, intolerances or cultural requirements your children have. We understand that requirements change over time and we actively maintain an open dialogue on dietary requirements with you to ensure your little one's needs are always met.

Step 3: Deliver

Our friendly delivery staff deliver freshly made, delicious nutritious meals to your nursery daily before 12pm.

Lunch arrives piping hot and ready to serve.

Afternoon tea arrives chilled and ready to be stored safely in your fridge till you need it for serving later in the day.

Why Nursery food is really important

Children consume a large proportion of their daily food intake within the nursery setting.

Little Lunches has observed first hand that children who eat our meals in their nursery setting who are less sure of unfamiliar foods are more likely to have a go and try something new if they see their friends trying it across the nursery table.

This means there is a massive opportunity to positively impact the range of foods that children experience in the early years and establish brilliant eating habits as they grow into young people and then adults.

Setting the Table & Little Lunches

Setting the Table guidelines are underpinned by a nutritional framework that is specific to early years children and their requirements. The focus of this is to ensure that early years children receive sufficient energy and nutrients across each week.

Our menus are prepared in line with setting the table guidelines. To help us achieve our goal of nutritional excellence we work closely with our assigned nutritionist at Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYNP) ensuring they meet all the nutritional needs for Nursery aged children.

Our Lunches comprise:

  • Both a main course and a second course (fruit, cereal or milk based) each day
  • No added non-milk extrinsic (NME) sugars & limited amounts of all sugars including those naturally present in fruits & syrups
  • No added salt

We serve the following for our afternoon teas:

  • 3-4 cold items
  • 1 protein source
  • 1 starchy item
  • No added salt
  • 1 portion of fruit

Starchy foods

  • 1 portion of starchy foods per main menu (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, bulgur wheat)
  • Wholegrains provided at least once a week (brown rice, pasta, bread)

Milk & Dairy

  • 1 dairy product each day (milk, cheese, yoghurts, milk based sauces, custard and pudding made from milk)

Fruits & Vegetables

  • at least 2 portion of fruits OR vegetables within each menu (a range of colours to provide a range of essential nutrients)


  • 1 source of protein each day (meat, fish, cheese, eggs, beans, pulses & meat alternatives)
  • A variety of meat, fish & meat alternatives across the week
  • Oily fish at least once a week
  • At least 1 plant based lunch provided each week

Our Vegetarian Menu uses a range of protein sources to ensure nutritional markers are sufficiently met. These include:

  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • beans (kidney, haricot, cannellini, pinto)
  • flax seeds
  • tofu
  • pea protein based meatless proteins

Frequently Asked Questions

Our nursery currently serves individual packed lunches and teas. We have never served family style meals to our children before. What support is available to us during the Little Lunches new nursery on-boarding period to help us do this really successfully?

We will provide an information pack which contains all the information that you need to help you serve the meals swiftly to the children. We are always available to answer your questions.

Our Nursery is looking at whether to employ an in house chef or find an external meal provider. We are not sure which way to go. What are the benefits of using the Little Lunches service compared with employing our own chef / cook.

We take all the stress out of mealtimes for Nursery staff. We do all the hard work planning menus to be yummy, engaging and to meet nutritional requirements for the children. You won’t have to invest in expensive catering equipment or worry about whether you have the space within your setting for a production kitchen. We have a team of chefs so there is contingency for unplanned sickness and holidays which can be tricky to manage when you have a single chef employed within a setting.

Your menu looks lovely but how do we know that the quality is excellent prior to committing to contract with Little Lunches?

The best way to find out how great our meals are is to arrange a free, no obligation tasting session. We can come to your setting or you can join us at our Kitchen. 

We have various children with dietary and cultural requirements in our Nursery. Can Little Lunches cater for this?

We cater for all dietary and cultural requirements in a really inclusive way. We always aim to provide a version of the standard menu dish that looks and feels the same for every child with specific requirements to enjoy. Our procedures ensure there is no cross contamination and all dietary alternatives are separately packed and clearly labelled to make it really easy for Nursery staff to identify at service. We work closely with Nurseries and Parents to understand the specifics needs of all children. If you have any questions, just drop us a message or give us a call.

The Little Lunches menu is far more varied than the range of foods that parents typically send in for their children for packed lunches. How do we know whether the children will enjoy these new foods?

The truth is you don’t know for sure! However, we have seen children transition from packed lunches to a more varied Little Lunches menu very smoothly and we believe that this is because our food is designed to be really engaging and fun as well as yummy and nutritious. The other factor that helps is the family style of dining where children all enjoy the same meals as their friends.

There is a lovely article in our news section from one of our nursery settings about the journey that they have had from packed lunches and teas to Little Lunches meal service. It’s really worth a read.

Where is the food cooked and how is it transported to my nursery setting?

We cook the meals in the Little Lunches kitchen in the South Gyle area of Edinburgh. Meals are packed in gastronorm (catering style) trays and packed in thermoboxes which keep the food lovely and hot until service at lunchtime. Our friendly delivery drivers deliver the thermoboxes to our Nursery Settings ready for service.

Do we need to heat anything up once it arrives?

All our hot meals arrive piping hot and ready to serve. All you have to do is keep the hot food in the thermoboxes provided until it’s time to serve lunch.

How much does it cost?

Our pricing structure is a unit cost per child per meal and is inclusive of delivery costs. The location of your Nursery setting therefore varies the price a little. Please contact us for more information.

Do we have to order both lunch and afternoon tea?

We are able to provide lunch, afternoon tea or both depending on what your requirements are. The minimum order for hot lunches is x15 portions. This is to ensure that the thermoboxes are sufficiently packed to perform optimally for hot holding during the delivery period.

What Food Safety requirements should I be aware of and what does this mean for me?

As a Nursery already engaged in serving food to children, you will already be familiar with some food safety regulations. Using Little Lunches as your meal provider makes things much simpler form a regulatory perspective. All you have to do is check the temperature of our hot food items before service to ensure they are above 63 degrees celsius. We sometimes ask you to check cold food items to allow us to monitor the performance of our thermoboxes.

What happens to all the serving trays and containers after we have served the children their lunch and tea?

When we deliver your meals, we take away the prior day’s empty trays and boxes and return them to the Little Lunches kitchen for re-use.  All we ask is that you have cleaned and dried them before handing back to us.

Our in house chef is sick / on annual leave. Can Little Lunches help our Nursery during this challenging period?

We would love to help you with that. Please contact us to find out about our temporary / short term contracts.

When do you deliver?

We deliver the food daily before 12 noon. 

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