Our Food

The Little Lunches team have carefully designed our Nursery menus to meet the requirements set out in Setting the Table guidelines for early years nutrition. We use a wide variety of food groups, champion vegetables throughout our meals and work hard to ensure our food is really yummy without the need for added salt or refined NME sugars.

We work with a nutritionist to ensure that our nursery food is low in salt and added sugars, as well as containing the right amount of nutrients to support the high energy requirements of pre-school children. Our nutritionist evaluates our menus to ensure that we are not only meeting the government guidance for early years menus, but that we are going above and beyond to achieve a standard of excellence in early years nutrition. Our lunch and afternoon tea menus have achieved Early Years Nutrition Partnership ADVANCED level of accreditation.

Our nursery menu operates on a 3 weekly cycle to provide a broad food offering for our Nursery children. Our menu changes twice each year (during March & September) so that we can incorporate plenty of seasonal produce when it is at its very best. We are conscious that early years children can sometimes find change to be overwhelming  especially when it comes to mealtimes. To provide a reference for the children through the seasonal menu change, we like to keep a few of the ‘firm favourites’ through the seasons. We do this because we feel that it is important to maintain an element of familiarity whilst introducing new dishes and broadening the food experiences for the children in a safe and comforting way.

In addition to our standard menus, we also run special themed menus and bolt-on options for a number of festivals.

Helping you plan for the unexpected

We always go the extra mile to ensure we deliver fresh, engaging, delicious, healthy meals to our nursery settings each day. However the events of recent times have show us that somethings things can crop up which are outside of our control which make it hard. We cannot bear the thought of letting our customers down, so we have created a "WHAT IF..." contingency menu. Our nursery settings can order the dishes from this menu in 2Ltr and 4Ltr tubs for storing on site in their nursery freezers for up to 6 months. This way we have you covered for the unexpected should it occur.

What If Contingency menu

Little Lunches & Second Course

As well as nutrition, we care about supporting a child’s relationship with food. We promote the message of variety and encourage children to learn that all foods can be enjoyed as part of a balanced and varied diet.

In the UK we know that children are consuming too much added sugar. At Little Lunches, 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 to nurseries, parents and families that second courses do not always have to be ‘sweet treats’.

Baked items

When we are designing our menus, we often begin with a traditional dish that may in its standard form contain added refined sugar. We don’t just stop there though! We adapt and refine our recipes to remove any added non-milk extrinsic (NME) sugars. We use the free sugars naturally present in fruits and vegetables, only supplementing with small quantities of unrefined coconut sugar, agave and stevia when absolutely necessary. Our second course baked item recipes are rigorously evaluated by specialist early years nutritionists to ensure their nutritional values are within the recommended limits.

Dishes with a less sweet flavour profile

Over our two most recent menus, we have introduced dishes with less of a sweet profile for second course. For example, natural Greek style yoghurts served plain with a little fresh or poached fruit on the side and grazing plates with cheese strips and fruit. Children’s early years are when food preferences are still being shaped. This is a brilliant time to offer more savoury options to little ones to minimise the reliance on sugary foods throughout later life.

Should parents prefer their children to receive fruit for second course in place of dishes containing small amounts of free and unrefined sugars, we are happy to accommodate this.

* Please note that advice for children between birth and 12 months of age differs from those aged from 1 to 5 years old. The Department of Health recommends that all added sugar is avoided by children under 12 months of age. Please contact us for more information on ordering second courses for children under 1. We also produce our own range of frozen baby food purees, which are completely additive and preservative free.

Preparing our food for Littlies & Baby Led Weaning

We love to use lots of fresh & raw fruit and vegetables in our lunches and teas as these are a brilliant way to provide textural variety and a rainbow of colour on our children’s plates. We carefully prepare our raw fruit and vegetables so that they are safe for our littlies who are new to food exploration.

  • Our grapes are always cut in quarters, longways
  • Our raw veg are cut into batons (& our littlies love to dunk these in our delicious homemade dips)
  • Our cherry / baby plum tomatoes are always cut into quarters

We also have a “zero honey” policy at little lunches, which means that all children as soon as they begin their weaning journey can eat from our main menu.

All of this means that parents who have chosen to follow baby led weaning for their littlies can be assured that Little Lunches meals are suitable for babies who are completely new to food right through to the older nursery children. (We have also heard from our Nurseries that the staff get to enjoy the leftovers on the rare occasions that the children leave them some)!

Traditional Weaning & Little Lunches

We have designed a lovely puree menu for children who are following traditional weaning and are not quite ready for the main Little Lunches menu. Our Purees are homemade and are made from a range of seasonal fruit and vegetables and are frozen in individual portions so that they can be easily stored and used as required. Nurseries can order mixed flavor puree boxes as part of their weekly order to be delivered on their specified days alongside their nursery meals.

Little Lunches Dietary requirements & Allergen Management

Dietary requirements

At Little Lunches we work with Nurseries and Parents to understand the specific dietary requirements of children.

We always aim to provide a version of the standard menu dish that looks and feels the same for every child with specific dietary requirements to enjoy that is safe for them.

We believe this inclusive approach to managing dietary needs is important for our children. We have seen in our nursery settings that a significant contributing factor towards achieving positive engagement at mealtimes comes from all the children being offered the same sort of food together as a fun, social and developmental part of their day. (Of course if we feel in any instance that we are unable to provide similar alternative versions of one of our dishes within a child’s specific requirements then we are completely committed to coming up with a suitable alternative and we will do this through dialogue with both the nursery and parents).

Allergen Management

Allergen management is at the top of our agenda at Little Lunches because with Littlies, we have to be so very careful that we take all possible steps to minimise the risk in this important area.

Our commitment to Nurseries on allergen management is that we

    • Follow all aspects of Food Safety Guidelines
    • provide menus that highlight which of the 14 allergens covered by the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC) are present for each food item/meal
    • provide comprehensive ingredient lists for all the items on our menus
    • label every food item clearly, with labels listing every ingredient included in the dish
    • highlight/emphasise any of the 14 recognised allergens in bold text on label ingredients lists where they are present in the dish
    • provide suitable alternatives for children with dietary needs upon request
    • provide open text boxes on our order forms to allow the nursery staff to communicate the specifics of each child’s dietary needs without word limits or restrictions
    • always ask for clarity from the setting if a requirement is not immediately clear from our reading of the order form
    • provide written confirmation of proposed dietary alternatives back to Nursery when we confirm the weekly order to allow each setting to review and query any of the suggested alternatives if required
    • maintain an open dialogue with both nurseries and parents on the topic of dietary requirements and allergen management
    • do not use any sesame products, nut products or nut derivatives in any of our meals

Understanding the risks:

Our kitchen handles a number of the ingredients that are requested as exclusions for children with dietary requirements across our full menu suite.

While we are confident that our procedures are robust and fully compliant with food standard regulation, it is important for our customers (nurseries and parents) to be aware that because the excluded ingredients may be present in the wider cooking environment, traces of these ingredients may exist in our products.

Keeping Children with dietary needs safe:

We adhere to strict procedures to ensure the risk of cross contamination is minimised, with dietary alternative dishes being prepared only by experienced chefs. Our Kitchen team and our Operations team have all completed and/or are working towards completing their Food Standards Scotland Allergen Management Training Modules for catering and food production. This ensures our allergen management procedures are robust and fully aligned to the current regulations.


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