It's the super-nanny state! 80-page guide on how to feed toddlers includes actual-size diagram of the perfect PLATE

We were told by David Cameron that the end of the nanny state was here and people would be trusted to use a bit of common sense.

However, that appears to have been forgotten by the Department for Education and School Fund Trust which has produced an 80-page guide for people who look after pre-school children such as nursery workers on how to feed toddlers – including an actual-size diagrams of the perfect plate.

While some of the ideas suggested in the booklet Eat Better, Start Better are useful, such as how to cater for youngsters of different religions, other information is extraordinarily basic such as the fact that sugar rots teeth and fruit is full of vitamins.

It even tells nursery workers, who have already had two years' training in looking after children, what the definition of meat is and how best to define a week (Monday to Friday).

The new guide for healthy eating for toddlers includes full-scale pictures of the size of plates that nursery workers should use

The new guide for healthy eating for toddlers includes full-scale pictures of the size of plates that nursery workers should use (not shown actual size)

Guidance for fruit and vegetables

Guide to starchy foods

A guide to meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein

Perhaps jarring with parents' own rules for their children, the guide says that they 'should be allowed to have dessert even if they have not finished their main course'.

One of the reasons the guide has been produced is to give childcare providers a single source of information about what children should eat. The new voluntary guidelines have been
backed by the Government following concern about the poor meals offered by many private

With more than a fifth of children considered overweight or obese by the time they start primary school, the School Food Trust says it is vital that healthy eating is instilled in children before they reach the age of five.

At the same time, type 2 diabetes is appearing in very young children, while dental health is deteriorating.

Evidence has emerged that some
nurseries spend as little as 25p per child’s meal. Research suggests
that only a third of parents are happy with the food at their child’s


Eating from a red plate could help dieters lose weight, scientists claim.

Serving up meals on red plates or drinking from red cups cuts consumption by about 40 per cent, according to one study carried out by German and Swiss academics.

Researchers say the colour red may encourage diners to avoid snacking because it is commonly associated with the idea of 'danger, prohibition and stop'.

They claim the discovery means the Government and food industry could use red packaging on unhealthy foods as a deterrent – and could even use more red in pubs to prevent people drinking too much.

In the study, 41 male students were asked to drink tea from cups marked with red or blue labels. They drank 44 per cent less from cups with red labels.

In the second part of the study, 109 people were given ten pretzels each on either a red, blue or white plate. Those with a red plate ate fewer pretzels.

The results were published in the journal Appetite.

Nutritionist Patricia Mucavele said: 'There’s lots of support being put into place to help any early years provider start to use these guidelines – we are piloting training with five local authorities already and will be coming to more areas in the coming year.

'This is just the beginning, and we hope that as many providers as possible will use these guidelines to help children get a healthy start in life.'

Around one in six feel the standard is
poor, with children being given junk food, too many convenience foods
and not enough fruit and vegetables.

In some cases children are being given too much salty or sugary food, while others get adult portions. The Trust, supported by nursery
industry bodies, has developed a series of menu plans to help staff
provide a healthy balanced diet.

are no sugar-coated breakfast cereals on the list, rather porridge with
raisins, Weetabix with yoghurt and dried apricots, toasted muffins with
scrambled egg or rice cakes.

Forget fizzy pop, the list of approved drinks includes diluted apple or orange juice, whole milk or water.

options include mixed bean and root vegetable stew with apricot and
herb couscous; lamb curry with brown rice; fish pie with sweet potato
topping; or beef lasagne.

While tea options include chicken or tofu risotto, scrambled egg on toast; and herby pilchard pasta. There
are also a number of suggested snacks which rule out chocolate bars and
crisps in favour of oatcakes, satsumas, celery and cucumber sticks.

Trust said: 'Whilst many childcare providers are already doing good
work in this area, research suggests that some are giving young children
food which is more appropriate for older children and adults.

'This can mean children eat too little
energy, carbohydrate and essential minerals such as iron and zinc, and
too much salt and sugar.'

Children’s Minister, the Lib-Dem MP Sarah Teather, has backed the new menu plans. 'Healthy eating is at the heart of helping every child get the best start in life,' she said.

'Nurseries play a vital role in
getting children from all backgrounds to develop good eating habits –
but many lack the expert knowledge of what is the best food to serve.

rightly want their children to be eating healthy, nutritional food.
Thanks to these voluntary guidelines drawn up by the School Food Trust,
we will help nurseries and other childcare providers do just that.'

are not required to stick to the guidelines, however those that sign up
to them will be able to advertise the fact to parents.

Guidance on milk and dairy foods

Going against what parents might say, the guide recommends children are given dessert even if they don't eat all their meal

Glossary: The guide is so detailed it even tells readers what meat is, and how to define a week and and limits

Handy hints: Among the more useful pieces of advice is information about the kind of food that can be given to children of different religions