We offer preschoolers fresh meals and snacks prepared onsite daily in our commercial grade kitchen by our trained and passionate cook, all included in our daily fees. Our cook has crafted rotating seasonal menus in partnership with a registered dietitian and in consultation with Australian government guidelines for optimum age appropriate nutrition.
We welcome input from our preschool community to inspire our future menus, include family favourites and encourage a mixing pot of cultures. If you have a favourite recipe, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Family and Staff Eating Habits
Families and preschool staff are NOT required to be plant-based eaters in order to enrol in or work at Sustainable Play Preschool. We simply ask our preschoolers to eat plant-based while at school.
Plant-based Meets Government Nutrition Guidelines
Our menu is 100% plant based, entirely free of animal products. The snacks and meals have been thoughtfully developed to be appealing to children, but most importantly to be perfectly nutritionally balanced for children aged 3-6 years old. The menu has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure it provides the right amount of nutrients and is entirely compliant with the Australian Dietary Guidelines (see below for our Dietitian’s nutrition statement). We understand that many families are going to have a preference to include non-plant-based foods in their children’s diets. What families decide to feed their children at home is completely their decision. We’ve decided to be a 100% plant based service and have ensured the food we will provide is nutritionally balanced, fresh and fun.
At Sustainable Play we encourage children to learn where their food comes from and to empower them with the tools to eat sustainably while being thoughtful to our planet and its animals. Children will be invited to participate in planting, growing, and tending to fresh produce in the preschool garden – harvesting, helping prepare, cook, and then continuing the cycle by composting leftovers to be later used to feed our garden plants.
Plant-Based Food and Sustainability
We envision a future where children develop the skills to be self-sufficient and less reliant on inefficient and detrimental global food systems. Most importantly, for children to develop an appreciation for good, whole foods from the earth that fuels and nourishes their bodies. Involving children in the life cycle of their food encourages them to establish lifelong healthy eating habits.
We believe a plant based diet is an important part of living more sustainably. The commercial production of meat animal products uses considerably more environmental resources than the production of plants. Review the following resources to learn more about why eating plant-based is better for the environment by easing the world burden of water use, water pollution, fossil fuels use, carbon emissions, waste byproducts, deforestation, habitat loss, and biodiversity loss.
- UCLA Sustainability
- Vegan Society
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Sustainability 2020
Our Food Suppliers
We are proud to partner with Organic Feast in East Maitland to source 100% certified organic, Australian grown fresh produce. For our pantry staples, we partner with Honest To Goodness in Alexandria, NSW, for ethically sourced goods without any fillers or additives. This means that our menu is approximately 80% certified organic as a whole and 100% certified organic for fresh produce. “We are proud to partner with ethical suppliers who share our mission of sustainability and our desire for pesticide and chemical free food.
Our menu currently contains nuts, however, when we receive enrolment of a child with anaphylaxis to nuts, a deep sanitisation of the preschool and kitchen will be conducted to remove risk of cross-contamination and the menus will be updated to reflect a preschool-wide, ‘no nuts’ policy. We have Dietitian approved substitutes ready to replace nuts on the menu. All non-anaphylaxtic allergies and intolerances will be accommodated for on a case-by-case basis. We are happy to work with families to manage any dietary concerns.
Menu Nutrition Statement:
It is recommended that children receive half (50%) of their daily nutritional requirements servings during 8 hours of care. The Dietitian approved menu provides at least 50% of Estimated Energy Requirements (ERR) and nutrients for children 3-5 years old with exception of vitamin D and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The menu also meets 50% of the increased iron requirement for vegetarians (180% of RDI) and the increased zinc requirement for vegetarians (150% of RDI), and provides more than double the current recommended adequate intake (AI) of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Please note that vitamin D status depends on sunlight exposure and intake of vitamin D-fortified foods or supplements. Vegetarians, are unlikely to meet the vitamin D requirement from diet alone as plant-based foods fortified with vitamin D are limited. Sensible sun exposure or a vegetarian vitamin D supplement may also be needed to meet requirements.
Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids:
Please note that vegetarian diets that exclude fish cannot meet the requirements for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids unless vegetarian docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) supplements (derived from microalgae) are consumed. Although there is no official recommendation for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for vegetarians, research suggests that vegetarians that exclude fish from their diet should double the current recommended adequate intake (AI) of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) if they do not consume a direct source of DHA/EPA, as ALA is converted to DHA and EPA.