Improving early years nutrition training

Almost 80% of Early Years Practitioners have received no nutrition training, yet many children receive much of their daily nutrition in a childcare setting. The Foodtalk Game is an educational board game which provides an engaging learning experience helping staff improve their knowledge and confidence of nutrition and health for children aged 1-5.

The Foodtalk Game challenges two teams to play against each other, asking and answering questions about early years nutrition. Questions and scenarios are designed to stimulate discussion, sharing knowledge and experiences and learning from each other. The game is fun, cost-effective and can be used repeatedly with new and existing staff members. It can also be played with families to facilitate healthy conversations around childhood health and nutrition.

Developed with Paediatric Dietitians at Foodtalk, the game is aligned with Eat Better, Start Better guidelines, and supports the OFSTED common inspection framework for nutrition and health. The board game is accompanied by downloadable resources including; Action Plan and Continuous Professional Development forms, which support using the game as a training tool for early years staff.

Endorsed by Nigel Denby, Childcare Nutrition Specialist

The Food Talk Game is an essential part of my Food and Nutrition Training toolkit. I use the game in various ways when delivering my Food and Nutrition in Childcare courses, a joint award programme with the Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland (REHIS):

  • It’s a great way to break from the lecture style of training
  • I use the game to assess how much my students have learned from their training
  • My students use the game in many of the activities they plan to take back to their setting- for training their colleagues and for running sessions with children and parents.

It’s often said that the simplest ideas are the best- that’s certainly true of Food Talk - it’s simplicity is it’s greatest asset and makes it such a versatile teaching aid.
Nigel Denby, BSc, RD - Registered Dietitian and Childcare Nutrition Specialist

Nigel's Website

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The Foodtalk Game can also be used to engage with families. You could invite the families of young children to play the game as a fun and educational nutrition intervention. This could be a one-off intervention around a specific topic, or a 4 - 5 week intervention, where knowledge is developed over time.

Public Health teams like the London Borough of Brent are embedding the game into their early years programmes, using it both as a training resource for early years' staff, and as a Tier 1 intervention with parents, to meet outcomes in obesity prevention, nutrition, physical activity and oral health.

We recently evaluated the game’s use in Brent, and 100% of participants said they would recommend the game.

Parent Training Report

The Foodtalk Game was used to train 28 parents at 5 children’s centres as “nutrition champions”. 100% of parents increased their knowledge of early years nutrition and said they would share the knowledge gained with other parents. 89% would recommend the game to other parents.

Health Professionals

Public health nutritionist Tejal wanted to make her early years nutrition training more interactive. She now uses The Foodtalk Game and says “staff feel more confident about discussing challenging topics such as portion sizes and fussy eating and can use the game as a basis for food based play and parent-child group activities.”


The Grove Nursery wanted to show that the nursery was meeting the health and wellbeing requirements of the Ofsted Common Assessment Framework. The manager bought The Foodtalk Game to use in training, and has added certificates and training reports to show completion of training using the game to their Ofsted binder.

Visit our shop to buy the foodtalk game and to see our other games.

You can pay online using a credit/debit card, via Paypal, or with a purchase order.

Price of game:
£60 (exc. VAT, p&p)

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