Our Policies

NUTRITION POLICY

AIM

  • To help children establish positive attitude towards eating and to ensure nutritionally adequate diet. We believe that serving high quality food makes a statement about the Centre's respect for, and care of children.
  • To provide nutritionally balanced meals for the children's needs that:
    - provide flexible eating periods to cater for the different age groups
    - establish healthy eating habits
    - consider children’s eating habits from different cultures and different religions
  • To provide an eating environment that is tranquil, aids communication and social skills, and develops independence in eating habits.
  • To inform parents/carers about the food provided for their children and seek their input into menu planning.
  • To evaluate menus on a regular basis to assist with menu planning.
  • To observe special dietary needs, including food allergies when planning the menus.
  • To provide safe and age appropriate foods that reflect our multicultural society.

Background

We believe that by teaching children to eat wisely and moderately we are helping them invest in the future. The habits that children learn during their first five years will significantly affect their future health. Poor eating habits have been associated with the development of many chronic health problems later in life, such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. A good nutritional program can provide a means of learning for life. Nutrition in childhood influences growth, activity, intellectual and emotional development.

The overall nutrition of children ultimately remains a parental responsibility. However, it is essential that the Centre provide adequate nutrition proportionate to the time the children spend in our care. Children in Long Day Care may receive 50-80% of the food intake whilst in our care. Children’s services are required to ensure children are provided with at least 50% of the recommended daily intake of nutrients, as directed by the NSW Department of Health.

Policy Statement

Foods provided will be based on the food groups recommended by the Department of Health, including dairy foods; breads, cereals and pastas; meats and meat alternatives; and fruits and vegetables. Menus will reflect children’s dietary needs, interests and the multicultural nature of our society and be based on the Nutritional Checklist for Long Day Care Menu Planning (NSW Health).

Implementation

  • At Little Explorer's we provide breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and supper.
  • Our cooking staff will have experience in planning and preparing nutritionally balanced meals for children.
  • It is important that all children have food from the five food groups. Our menu aims to cater for these needs.

Objectives

  • to motivate staff to maintain good personal nutrition
  • to meet the nutritional needs of the children
  • to support and encourage breast feeding
  • to cater for children with specific dietary requirements e.g. vegetarian, allergy, food intolerances or other medical reasons, religious or cultural reasons.
  • to develop an awareness of multicultural eating patterns and to reflect home cooking
  • to provide safe food i.e. hygienic, reduced risk of choking and free of unnecessary chemicals
  • to establish healthy eating attitudes in children
  • to balance budgetary constraints with nutritional needs and ease of preparation
  • to communicate with parents about their child's food intake
  • to encourage parents to continue nutrition guidelines at home

Guidelines for Cooking Staff

  • Menus will be planned around the nutritional and development needs of children in care containing at least 50% of the daily nutritional requirements for young children. Menus will be changed weekly and will be displayed for parents. Menus will vary according to seasons.
  • In cooking, natural colours and textures of food will be preserved so that food looks appealing. The same foods will be presented in different ways for variety.
  • Children will be given child sized portions (1/4 - 1/3 of an adult portion) and given seconds of all courses if they so desire.
  • Whole milk will be given to children under two years of age to provide adequate fat for nerve and brain growth. Children will be offered milk to drink twice a day. Only soy products that are fortified with calcium will be used as a substitute to cows' milk when
  • Popcorn will not be served to any children.
  • New foods will be served in small amounts and always alongside familiar foods.
  • Snack foods should always be nutritious and contain protein or carbohydrate.
  • The centre will be nut free, no nuts or nut products will be used.
  • Foods will be served which represent different cultural patterns as a means of establishing rapport with children and their families and for educating all children about various cultures and religions.
  • Children will be served at least one piece of fruit and at least one serve of vegetables daily. Fresh foods will be used whenever possible, in preference to canned or frozen foods. Fruit and vegetables will be thoroughly washed before use. Vegetables will not be "hidden" in meals so that their value is underrated. Rather, vegetables will be presented so that children can experience the full flavours, colours and textures of vegetables.
  • Meals will be varied, as variety is essential for the development of good food habits. Food will be presented attractively, with consideration to taste, colour and texture.
  • Desserts will be milk or fruit based and will complement daily nutritional requirements.
  • Limit juice drinks (no more than one a day). Juice will be 100% fruit juice diluted with water 50:50 as recommended by the Department of Health.
  • Water will be served with lunch.
  • Added sugar and sugar products will be avoided. Sugar will only be used minimally as required in cooking.
  • No salt will be used in cooking or added to food.
  • Food will be served and stored at the correct temperature to avoid spoiling or contamination.
02 9679 9091
02 9679 9081