The news recently reported that child care places for babies has fallen by 10% over the last three years and parents are finding it increasingly hard to find care for their under twos.
The widely reported story came on the back of a survey by the Greens of 231 child care centres. The survey of private and community day-care centres in major cities across the country showed that vacancies for babies have fallen 10 per cent since 2010.
Up to three quarters of child care centres had places available for babies and up to two thirds had no spaces for toddlers.
And if you can find a place it's getting more and more expensive. This is largely due to both the economy and the number of child care centres that have not managed to survive in the economic downturn; with high rental and property value of property in inner city suburbs and staffing/cost pressures under the new National Quality Framework…
So we're back in the swing of the new school/child care year and if you're stuck for a few lunchbox ideas, That! Dairy Snack's Dietitian, Michelle Gale, offers her tips for creating the ultimate lunchbox.
VARIETY is very important; add different items to the lunch box from day to day, making sure you include food from all the food groups daily. This includes:
- Carbohydrates which provide energy for the brain and body e.g. bread (sandwich), pasta, noodles, rice, potatoes
- Protein for muscles and growth e.g. meat, fish, beans/legumes, eggs, nuts, cheese
- Dairy provides calcium for strong bones and teeth e.g. milk, yoghurt, cheese (& That! Dairy Snack)
- Fruit for fibre, vitamins and minerals e.g. whole fruit, chopped fruit, tinned fruit, dried fruit
- Vegetables for fibre, vitamins and minerals e.g. vegetables in a sandwich/pasta/rice, chopped vegetables on the side;
COOL - it is imperative that food is kept cool. The best ways to do this are by:
- Using an insulated lunchbox
- Preparing the lunchbox the night before and storing it in the fridge
- Including a frozen water bottle, or even a frozen dairy snack especially during the summer months;
AMOUNT - tailor the amount of food based on your child's age & scheduled activities.
WATER is best to drink, so be sure to pop a fun and colourful water bottle in the lunchbox.
Don't forget – NO NUTS. Schools and child care services are nut free zones.
That! Dairy Snack is a guilt-free, gluten free treat that kids love. Each pack contains as much calcium as a 125ml glass of milk; that's 20% of the calcium children need each day to develop strong and healthy bones.
Although it's always recommended, That! Dairy Snack requires no refrigeration, ensuring it can be stored safely in the school bag and lunchbox even when it starts to get a bit warm.
Available in Wild Chocolate and Cool Bananas flavours, That! Dairy Snack from Woolworths nationally (in the long life juice aisle). RRP $1.89. For more information, visit www.thatdairysnack.com.au.
THAT! DAIRY SNACK is offering three packs of goodies. The packs, valued at $50 each will contain a minimum of 24 units of That! Dairy Snack (RRP is $1.89 per unit) plus branded stickers and temporary tattoos.