Did you know?
Children start learning about food at a very early age. The messages they receive during this time lay the foundations for the choices they make about food as they move up to school and beyond. With more than one in five children overweight or obese as they start their school reception year, it’s never been more important to help them get a healthy start in life.
We’re leading the work to help early years providers meet children’s nutritional needs more consistently, and to help families with young children to develop the cooking skills and confidence they need to cook and eat more healthily.
The Eat Better, Start Better programme was developed using Voluntary and Community Sector grant funding, under the Department for Education’s ‘Improving Outcomes for Children, Young People and Families’ fund.
Guidelines and resources
We’ve produced practical guidance for early years settings which includes the Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England, and information about, portion sizes, cultural and special dietary needs and about encouraging fussy eaters. You can also download two seasonal recipe books, or order printed copies of all three publications.
We’re working with local authorities across the country to train health and early years professionals – helping them to understand the voluntary food and drink guidelines for early years settings and to cascade good practice in their communities. We’re also training them to safely run healthy cooking activities with families and children.
Read more about Eat Better, Start Better training
Hear from settings and local authorities who've tried it.
Look at why and how we developed our work in early years food and nutrition with help from early years and health professionals.
Early Years frequently asked questions