Nutrition |®
Helping kids develop good eating habits for life
Early childhood education and care professionals are in a unique position to influence the eating habits of young children and to help them develop a healthy and balanced approach to food for life.

Harnessing the natural curiosity children have about the world is a great way to teach them about the importance of eating properly and incorporating a few simple teaching ideas into your program can help to set them on the right track for life.
  • Teach kids about the food pyramid and the importance of eating the correct amount of food from each level of the pyramid. Food pyramids are great for colouring and decorating and can be used by children at all ages. Click here to see the updated Australian food pyramid.
  • Talk to children about where fruit and vegetables come from and how they grow. Many early childhood service have wonderful gardens which the children can be involved in, don't worry if your service doesn't have a large garden, simply fill a pot with dirt and plant some seeds or use egg trays.
  • Cooking with kids promotes great interest in food and children are often more likely to eat food they wouldn't normally try if they had a hand in making it. Simple, colourful fruit salads and raw vegetable dipping plates are an easy way to teach kids about the importance of eating a wide variety of fresh foods.
  • Use positive modelling in your play kitchen and/or shop areas by ensuring all of the food which can be bought and/or cooked is healthy and part of the balanced food pyramid. Remove all the ice creams, pizza slices and cupcakes and replace them with fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread/pasta/noodle products and healthy proteins.
  • Use picture books, songs and stories to instil knowledge about the importance of good nutrition and about the wide variety of healthy food choices available to us in Australia. Alphabet games where children think of healthy food to match a letter of the alphabet are another good way to educate kids about healthy food options.
It's also important to try and avoid labelling food as good and bad as labelling something 'bad' can make it seem more exciting and tempting and may lead children to go overboard if there is a plate of one of the contraband items available!

For children with a healthy active lifestyle and a well balanced diet there is usually scope for the occasional treats and making these items available and helping children develop a balanced and moderate approach to eating these treat foods will hopefully avoid binge eating.

For loads of fantastic resources on how to help children develop healthy eating habits visit the SNAC website. There is also plenty of information available for early childhood providers on the Nutrition Australia website. This NHMRC brochure also offers some very useful information on portion control and discretionary foods.
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Care For Kids Internet Services Pty Ltd
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PO Box 543 Balmain NSW 2041

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