Food Foundations

Critical reflection – Meal and snack service times

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As per the Get up and Grow Guidelines “children have small stomachs, and their energy and nutrient requirements are best met through small and frequent nutritious meals and snacks”.  In practice, ideally children should be offered a meal or snack every 2-3 hours.

What times does your setting serve meals and snacks?

You may notice, that if there are larger gaps in service times, children’s behaviour and concentration may be affected as they are hungry. Alternatively, if meals and snacks are served too close together the children may not eat as much as they are simply not hungry.


Talk with your colleagues about the following reflection questions:

  1. Why do we serve lunch at the time we do?
    1. Do the children eat ‘well’ at these times?
    2. Do the meal times suit the cook/chef, daily routine and staffing?
    3. Are the meal times reflective of a child’s ‘usual’ meal times time when they are not in care?
  2. Are there differences in children’s group behaviour throughout the day – is this reflective of meal service times?
  3. Are there even gaps between the meal service times?
  4. How can we make meal and snack times more efficient? Do we need to make them more efficient?