Nutrition & Healthy Eating

Healthy eating in early childhood is important for healthy growth and development and can assist in preventing against childhood obesity, tooth decay, constipation and iron deficiency. Dietary habits formed in the early years are likely to continue into adulthood and the promotion of healthy eating in early childhood settings provides an important contribution to the prevention of adult chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes and certain cancers.


Encourage and promote healthy food and drink

The service will:

  • Provide clear information to families on recommended and non-recommended food and drinks for children’s lunchboxes.
  • Ensure recommended and non-recommended food guidelines are consistent with the promote foods from the food groups (Vegetables, breads and cereals, fruit, dairy products, homemade cakes, and meat and meat alternatives) and discourage “discretionary” foods (eg lollies, chocolates, chocolate / creamy filled biscuits, pop corns, chips, soft drinks, nuts, seafood, cake with chocolates fillings).
  • Monitor children’s lunchboxes daily in accordance with lunchbox guidelines.
  • Provide feedback to parents when non-recommended food or drinks are packed. Eg through dairy notes, verbal feedback at pick-up, through parent meetings.
  • Promote water and plain milk as suitable drinks for consumption in care.
  • Ensure water is readily available for children to drink throughout the day.
  • Offer food and drink at regular and predictable intervals.
  • Be aware of children with food allergies, food intolerances and special dietary needs and consult with families to determine specific food related requirements and develop individual management plans.
  • Minimise the risk of choking through provision of appropriate foods and supervision.



Provide a positive eating environment which reflects cultural and family values

The service will:

  • Ensure that supervisors sit with the children at meal, lunch, and snack times to role model healthy food and drink choices and actively engage children in conversations about the food and drink provided.
  • Provide positive comments about healthy eating and trying new foods
  • Create a relaxed atmosphere at mealtimes where children have enough time to eat and enjoy their food as well as enjoying the social interactions with supervisors and other children.
  • Encourage pre-schoolers to assist to set and clear the table and serve their own food and drink to foster children’s independence and self-esteem.
  • Respect each child’s appetite. If a child is not hungry or is satisfied, supervisor does not insist he/she eats.
  • Be patient with messy or slow eaters.
  • Encourage children to try different / new foods but will not force them to eat.
  • Not use food as a reward or withhold food from children for disciplinary purposes.


Encourage and support breastfeeding

The service will:

  • Apply infant feeding recommendations.
  • Provide a suitable place within the service where mothers can breastfeed their babies or express breast milk.
  • Support mothers to continue breastfeeding until babies are at least 12months of age while offering appropriate complementary foods from around 6 months of age.
  • Ensure the safe handling of breast milk and infant formula including transporting, storing, thawing, warming, preparing and bottle feeding.

• Always supervise babies while drinking and eating – ensuring safe bottle feeding and eating practices at all times.