The Flying Start Food and Nutrition Team

The Flying Start Food and Nutrition Team

Our team of dietitians and dietetic support workers:

  • Support families and children in Flying Start areas to access a healthy, affordable, nutritious diet to benefit their health and wellbeing.
  • Support families with cooking skills in a variety of ways.
  • Ensure families receive consistent and accurate nutrition information and practical support.

Why is good nutrition important for young children?

Children who eat regularly and include a wide variety of foods are more likely to enjoy good health throughout life. The Early Years is a time of rapid growth and development when it is really important to eat a balanced diet. Children who do this are more likely to be a healthy weight, have good dental health and will be less likely to develop iron deficiency anaemia or constipation. Well nourished children are less likely to develop infections and if they do they will recover quicker.

Eating a healthy varied diet together as a family helps to encourage good eating habits for life.

What Services can the Food and Nutrition team provide?

  • Practical cooking sessions
  • Accredited, healthy eating and cooking courses
  • Healthy eating advice and resources
  • Introducing solid foods advice and resources
  • Information about Healthy Start vouchers and vitamins
  • Information about community food projects
  • Guidance on suitable drinking cups and beakers
  • Support childcare settings in achieving the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award (GSHSA) and the Healthy and Sustainable Pre-School Scheme
  • Training for Early Years Professionals

Introducing Solid Foods

Introducing your baby to solid foods, sometimes called complementary feeding or weaning is a fun and exciting time! It’s an important stage of development where foods are introduced alongside your baby’s usual breast milk or first infant formula, to help provide the nutrition they need for growth and development.

We have produced a series of videos on introducing solid foods to your baby, which you can find here

Topics covered in the videos include:

  • When to start introducing solid foods
  • Foods and texture to offer
  • Keeping your baby safe
  • Introducing allergens
  • Moving onto family meals

If you have any questions about introducing your baby to solid foods please speak with your health visitor who can help to guide you.

We provide a comprehensive Nutrition and Dietetic training programme for our Health Visitors, which includes training on the latest evidence and advice around introducing solid foods.

The Cardiff Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award

The Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award is a scheme that supports the provision of healthy snacks and drinks in childcare settings. All childcare settings within Flying Start are part of the scheme. It links to the Cardiff Healthy and Sustainable Pre-School Scheme, which acknowledges pre-school settings as contributors to children’s health and wellbeing.

The award is given to settings who meet strict criteria around:

  • Healthy snacks and drinks
  • The environment children eat in
  • Good food hygiene
  • Promoting healthy eating through day-to-day activities

Healthy snacks are lower in fat, sugar and additives; they are also higher in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Suitable drinks for young children are plain water or milk. Your Flying Start childcare will be able to tell you about the snacks and drinks they provide.

There is a national concern about the quantity of unhealthy snacks our young children are eating.  Providing a healthy snack is one way to ensure children are healthy and can help protect them from health problems later in life.

Your Flying Start childcare setting will be able to provide you with further information around the scheme. They can also provide you with a copy of the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award leaflet.

Get Cooking!

Get Cooking is a 9 week course for mums, dads and carers. The sessions are informal and are run once a week for two hours each.

The sessions involve hands-on cooking and activities around healthy eating and food safety. There is also a Love Food Hate Waste session covering ways to reduce food waste and save money on your food budget.

All ingredients and equipment are provided in the sessions.

  • Quick, easy and tasty meal ideas that your whole family can enjoy
  • Free portion of what you make to take home
  • Improved cooking skills
  • The chance to gain Agored Cymru credits
  • Meet other families who live in your area

Yes, all Flying Start Get Cooking courses have a crèche run by registered childcare staff.

Get Cooking courses are run regularly throughout the year in Flying Start areas.

If you would like a place, ask your Health Visitor or a member of Flying Start staff to refer you or you can contact the Flying Start Food and Nutrition Team directly on 029 20351377 or e-mail*

*Please note due to coronavirus restrictions Get Cooking is not currently able run as described. Contact the team on the contact details above for more information.

Little Cooks

Little Cooks is a practical cookery programme for children developed by the Flying Start Food and Nutrition Team and the Cardiff and Vale Healthy Schools Team. It includes over 40 tasty recipes!

Little Cooks training is provided by the Flying Start Food and Nutrition Team to Flying Start Early Years settings (such as nurseries and stay and play sessions), to support Early Years staff in delivering the practical cooking sessions with children.

  • Children are more likely to try new foods if they have been involved in the preparation.
  • Cooking with children can help to lay the foundations of healthy eating habits for life.
  • Fine motor and co-ordination skills can be developed by chopping, mixing, squeezing and spreading.
  • Cooking can help children to develop numeracy, literacy and communication skills

Little Cooks also provides evidence in childcare settings for the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award & Cardiff Healthy and Sustainable Pre-School Scheme.

Ask your Flying Start Childcare setting or Stay and Play Team if they offer Little Cooks sessions.

Settings delivering Little Cooks can also share recipes for parents and carers to continue cooking with their children at home.


Family recipes

When money is tight, eating well can seem like a challenge, but there are lots of options for cooking and eating tasty and healthy food on a budget.

Follow the website links for lots of low cost, tasty, family recipe ideas and cooking videos to help you Get Cooking!