Explore and Develop Artarmon early childhood education and care service hosted the release today of a new edition NSW Health menu planning guide which gives children the best start in life through fostering healthy eating habits early, then continuing these habits into adolescence and adulthood.
Director of NSW Health’s Centre for Population Health, Dr Jo Mitchell, said the new edition of Caring for Children – Birth to 5 years (Food, Nutrition and Learning Experiences) provides information and advice to cooks, directors and educators on offering the best nutrition possible for children aged from birth to five years, whilst in care.
“The resource is used to support services in NSW, including those participating in the NSW Health program, Munch & Move, a free program open to all centre-based early childhood education care services in NSW,” she said.
The guide covers breastfeeding, safe bottle feeding, introducing solid foods, food allergies and intolerances, food safety and hygiene, food groups and quantities, lunchbox ideas, menu planning, reading food labels, recipes, and healthy eating learning experiences.
The revised version of Starting Family Foods - Introducing your baby to Solid Foods for parents, was also launched on the day as part of the new resource.
Dr Mitchell said both resources were being used extensively throughout early childhood education and care services across NSW.
“This revision has also allowed NSW Health to combine Caring for Infants and Caring for Children into one resource to provide practical information to meet the food and nutrition needs of children 0-5 years whilst in child care,” she said.
Assistant Health Minister Jai Rowell said the nutrition resources, which are used as part of the widely adopted Munch & Move program, were just one way the NSW Government was working to teach young children the healthy eating and exercise habits which will set them up for life.
“Across NSW, 82 per cent of early childhood services are participating in NSW Health’s Munch & Move,” Minister Rowell said.
“I am delighted at the success of these nutrition resources and Munch & Move at giving children the best possible start in life by developing healthy eating habits early.”
Explore and Develop Artarmon Health and Wellbeing Leader Nikki Gleeson welcomed the new resource.
"This resource will become a core foundation for early childhood educational services to ensure centre staff adhere to nutritional needs of children whilst in care,” Ms Gleeson said.
“This resource will provide an avenue to gain information about menu planning ideas and practical recipes for young children.”
The Healthy Children Initiative, which includes Munch & Move, is a key initiative of the NSW Government’s Healthy Eating Active Living Strategy, launched in January 2014.
Of the services participating in Munch & Move:
- 96 per cent of services include fruit and vegetables at least once per day on their menu
- 85 per cent of services include only healthy snack options on their menu every day
- 67 per cent of services supply age appropriate drinks every day (i.e. reduced fat milk for >2 year olds and water)
- 79 per cent of services provide structured and specific learning experiences about healthy eating at least two times per week
- 98 per cent of all services have a written nutrition policy.
Both Caring for Children and Starting Family Foods are available to download from the Healthy Kids website at http://healthykids.nsw.gov.au/teachers-childcare/food-and-nutrition/publications.aspx
Further information can be obtained by visiting the Health Kids website: www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au