Over recent months we have revamped our menus at The Old Station Nursery, coupled with some further training for our nursery cooks. In amongst all the nutritional advice that we discussed, a lot of debate sprung from learning that many children in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is made in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight and is also sound in some foods. Fish oils are a particularly good source, but are not always widely consumed. We all need Vitamin D for the growth and maintenance of teeth and bones, as it aids the absorption of phosphorus and calcium in our gut. It also helps cells and tissues to grow and keeps the immune system functioning.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so can be stored in the body, meaning it doesn’t need to be eaten every day. However, children under 5 need extra Vitamin D to support their rapid growth and over recent years, as we have become much more sun aware, many children are now so covered up in sunlight, they are not able to manufacture the Vitamin D that they need. They may also not play out all year round, mostly due to parental preference, rather than their own!
At nursery we ensure children go outside in all weather, and also include Vitamin D rich foods in our menu cycle. These include tuna, salmon, eggs, milk puddings and margarine or butter, which is fortified with Vitamin D.
However, if parents are interested in finding out more about this topic do have a look at the following information sources: