A new health and wellbeing programme is putting healthy eating on the nursery curriculum in Croydon and Sutton.

The initiative is led by research conducted at Co-op Childcare nurseries in the area, which shows 98% of parents would like their children to have a better understanding of where their food comes from.

Children at Co-op nurseries at Mayday Hospital, Cheam Road in Sutton and Dunley Drive in New Addington will have the option of a new nutritionally balanced menu created and accredited by Startwell, a charity promoting healthy eating in early years, endorsed by celebrity Dr Hilary Jones.

Michaela Brotherston, Nursery Manager at the Co-op Childcare nursery in New Addington, said: “We know that children who understand where food comes from are much more likely to have a positive relationship with healthy eating, so we want to encourage good food habits in children at our nursery from a much younger age.

“We’ve been working closely with our parents, colleagues, and children in Croydon to make sure we help the little ones in our care lead the healthiest lives they can.”

In addition, the nursery has received a growing package from Rocket Gardens, which includes a vegetable patch and organic herbs.

They will be planted, tended to and picked by the pupils, helping them to understand the journey fresh food makes from earth to plate.

Staff and chefs at the nursery will also undertake specialist nutritional training to ensure colleagues are equipped to support parents with advice on nutrition, and chefs can apply their training when developing new recipes.

The new menus will be delivered by food wholesaler Brakes, which has testeded accreditations in place to mark the high quality of its food, ensuring all meat and fresh produce are fully traceable back to the supplier.

Dr Hilary Jones, GP, Medical Broadcaster and Author, said: “Co-op Childcare has committed to delivering healthy, wholesome, varied meals to ensure all the children in its nurseries are getting all the nutrients they need, and the education to understand why nutrition is important.

“With this strong foundation, they can continue on to grow, learn, and flourish and maintain a lifelong, positive relationship with food.”

Parents interested in finding out more about the Health and Wellbeing programme can attend an open day at the Co-op Childcare nurseries in Croydon and New Addington on Saturday June 8 between 10am-2pm.