Early Years

Woman with child eating bananaWe are active in helping parents and children make healthier choices with their diets through a number of programmes which look to:.

The purpose of this work is to support the Implementation of the Nutritional Guidance for Early Years — Food Choices for Children Aged 1-5 Years in Early Education & Childcare Settings.

Programme objectives include: 

  • To increase uptake of healthy choices within organisations working with young children in areas of deprivation.
  • To develop and support skills and knowledge of staff in early years establishments.
  • To increase uptake of healthy choices by children and their families by providing healthy eating practical sessions.
  • To co-ordinate a more effective use of early years resources.

Parent sessions cover topics such as: 

Ideas around food, body images and barriers to a healthy diet.  What is a healthy balanced diet?  Food labelling and ways to reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt in the diet.  What are healthy snacks and how to make healthier snacks, fussy eating and the best way to cope with it, and lastly how to menu plan in order to save money.

The nutrition sessions are followed by cooking classes aimed at cooking food suitable for an early year’s diet.  Sessions are supported by appropriate information, materials and recipes and will provide parents with: 

  • Knowledge, information and support
  • Opportunities to raise confidence and self esteem
  • Opportunities to develop or enhance cooking skills

Through this work The Little Book of Marvellous Recipes has been developed. Inside you will find some delicious,step-by-step recipes and meal ideas for you and your toddler. The recipes are simple, easy to follow . . . and the rest of the family will love them too!

Feeding Your Toddler

Good food can help your child to form strong bones and teeth, muscles and a healthy body. A balanced diet can help to prevent against illnesses now and for the future and making healthy homemade dinners will help to establish good eating habits for life.

Good food is one of the biggest factors towards a healthy, happy child but it can be tricky when your toddler refuses to eat what you give them. In this recipe book, we have chosen recipes that toddlers will love but there are also plenty of ideas and tips to help those little fussy eaters, from hiding vegetables in dishes to being more creative with food!

Cook It Together!

Have fun in the kitchen and help your child to eat more healthily. Yummy food can be as much fun to make as it is to eat! Use this book to learn a new recipe and teach a family member or friend, or why not invite friends and their children round for a tea party or lunch and make some of the delicious snacks for everyone. But most importantly . . . have fun in the kitchen! 

The Maternal and Early Years website is a very helpful site for professionals working in health, local authorities or the community and voluntary sector. It has been developed by NHS Health Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government to support health improvement in the early years.

Little Leithers


The Little Leithers project works with families of children aged 5 and under in Leith. The project works to influence the eating choices of those families and encourage healthier eating through information sessions, cooking classes and the Little Leithers voucher scheme which provides a number of families in Leith with vouchers to buy healthy food in local shops and from ECF.