Our nurseries get lots of fantastic feedback from children about our delicious meals, and many families come to us puzzled about how children won’t eat at home but will at nursery, wanting to know what our secret is!
For that reason, we decided it was about time to whip up a dedicated Kids Planet recipe book, working with Kids Planet Head Chef Victor Gonzalez, with the help of our passionate Worsley Chef, Stacy Stewart, to share with you our favourite easy, home-cooked meals that the whole family can enjoy.
Giving back to others is important to Kids Planet, therefore we have decided to donate all proceeds made from parents purchasing this recipe book to a worthy charity, Feeding Britain, which provides meals and support to those in need.
In line with our most recent podcast episode all about nutrition in early years, and with the release of the recipe book, we caught up with Stacy about the process of the recipe book and what this means for children and parents:
Parents are always shocked/pleased that we feed the children fresh, and comment that coming to nursery in the morning makes them hungry and want to stay for dinner. The kids love the food, some of them even have two or three portions, but parents often say that they can’t get their children to eat as well at home.
“My daughter eats nursery food but point blank refuses most things at home.”
“My son tells me I don’t cook it ‘the same’ as nursery.”
“My child absolutely loves her meals at nursery. I would love some different ideas to try at home.”
I’ve been in the hospitality industry since I was 14, so for 30 years now. We got chatting and Head Chef Victor had looked at my menus, and chose me to do the cookbook.
I’ve always been interested in cooking. I used to cook a roast dinner for everyone in my family at the age of nine. I’ve got three boys, aged 24, 19 and 14, and they always played sports. I always made sure they had good food when they went out and were well fueled. They’ve been awkward eaters themselves, and I’ve tried to make sure they eat healthily even though they’re picky. I just love cooking, reading about food, eating food – I’m very passionate about it.
Because I’ve worked in previous nurseries, I brought ideas with me to Kids Planet in terms of the menu. Since then, I’ve got to know what kids at this nursery setting like to eat and have used and adapted the recipes to foods that the children like. There’s stuff you can hide vegetables in. Kids love pasta and rice, things that are easy for them to eat. Hiding vegetables means they get their five-a-day.
Children love pasta, anything tomato sauce-based, any foods you can make sweet for example sweet potato and apple soup has lots of vegetables and nutrients but because it’s got sweetness too, the children absolutely love it.
Each Kids Planet nursery has an on-site, qualified chef with an in-depth understanding of nutrition, food hygiene, and menu planning.
I like that as chefs we’re not regimented at Kids Planet. We can upload our recipes to the database and get ideas from each other, creating a nice community of chefs helping each other.
When it comes to working with kids, I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I get to go in and cook with the children, read them stories, teach them all about food and spend time with them, without any of the paperwork.
People often struggle cooking for children. People are busy with pick-ups, sports and activities to go to, and some people need recipes that are really quick and freezable. I hope the book helps parents, especially those who might not feel confident with cooking.
Food is amazing and you need to introduce that and instill that at an early age. When they get older, they will be more likely to want to experience all the different foods that the world has to offer. You can go to different countries and enjoy different cultures, and it is easier to get that when the love of food and nutrition is instilled when they’re young.
About Feeding Britain
Following rapid increases in the cost of living, Feeding Britain is on a mission to protect families from hardship and hunger.
From providing food for hungry people to advocating for change, the award-winning charity works with food banks, local community food organisations, politicians, and businesses, to make sure hunger becomes a thing of the past.
Each donation will help Feeding Britain to provide meals and support to those in need, making a real difference to communities across the country. For more information, please visit www.feedingbritain.org.