Young Children and the Australian Dietary Guidelines
The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide us with the latest recommendations for our daily nutritional requirements. The advice is based on scientific research and suggests the various food groups and quantities required for optimal health and wellbeing. A very important part of that advice helps us to balance the best diets for our little learners, who need first-rate nutrition as they grow and develop.
Tips for Healthy and Balanced Nutrition for Children
Try to make sure your child enjoys a range of foods from these five food groups every day:
- Vegetables& Legumes – try to provide fresh vegetables full of colour and variety. Do not overcook; things like carrot sticks can be enjoyed raw and crunchy.
- Fruit – fresh fruit is naturally sweet and colourful. Make fruit salads and smoothies, or use for snacks and desserts.
- Grains & cereals – these include breads, cereals, rice, pasta, oats, noodles, polenta, couscous, quinoa and barley. Use wholegrain options when possible.
- Lean meats, fish and poultry – this food group also includes eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and beans. Try to avoid fatty or processed meats.
- Milk, yoghurt and cheese – your child can enjoy the reduced fat versions of many of these, as long as they are over the age of 2 years.
And always provide plenty of clean, fresh water for good hydration.
Try to limit foods that are high in the following:
- Saturated fat – these include most biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizzas, fried foods, chips, crisps and other savoury snacks. Try to replace foods high in saturated fats with foods that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats instead. (Low-fat diets are not suitable for the under 2s)
- Added salt – try to use low sodium products where possible and do not salt foods during cooking or at the table.
- Added sugars – try to avoid foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, juices and cordials, flavoured waters, and sports drinks.
At Cherry Bridge Station we teach and promote healthy eating habits to the children and families attending our centres. Our educators show children how to make healthy choices and engage in experiences with the children to educate them on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.
The meals in our centres are expertly designed to meet 70% of a child’s total daily dietary and nutritional requirements. Water is provided to the children throughout the day and is accessible at all times; milk is also served at meal times.
Healthy little tummies help to make strong bodies and happy minds.