Nutrition, Food, Beverages and Dietary Requirements

CONTENTS

1. Policy Statement
2. Goals
3. Strategies for Implementation
4. Roles and Responsibility
5. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
6. Legislation and Considerations
7. Related Guidelines, Standards, Frameworks and Other Sources

1. POLICY STATEMENT

 This policy concerns the provision of healthy food and drink while children are in care and the promotion of normal growth and development.
 The service is committed to implementing the healthy eating key messages outlined in Munch Move and to supporting the National Healthy Eating Guidelines for Early Childhood Settings as outlined in the Get Up & Grow resources.
 Further, we recognise the importance of supporting families in providing healthy food and drink to their children. It is acknowledged that the early childhood setting has an important role in supporting families in healthy eating.

2. GOALS
Our service recognises the importance of healthy eating to the growth and development of young children and is committed to supporting the healthy food and drink choices of children in our care.

3. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Promote healthy food and drinks based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

The service will:

Where food is provided by the service:
 Provide children with a wide variety of healthy and nutritious foods for meals and snacks including fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereal products, dairy products, lean meats and alternatives.
 Plan and display the service menu that is based on sound menu planning principles and meets the daily nutritional needs of children whilst in care.
 Plan healthy snacks on the menu to complement what is served at mealtimes and ensure the snacks are substantial enough to meet the energy and nutrient needs of children.
 Vary the meals and snacks on the menu to keep children interested and to introduce children to a range of healthy food ideas.
Promote safety
 Ensure water is readily available for children to drink throughout the day.
 Be aware of children with food allergies, food intolerances and special diets and consult with families to develop individual management plans.

NUTRITION, FOOD, BEVERAGES AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

QUALITY AREA 2: CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND SAFETY

 Ensure young children do not have access to foods that may cause choking.
 Ensure all children remain seated while eating and drinking.
 Always supervise children while eating and drinking.

Safe food handling
 Encourage and provide opportunities for cooking staff and educators to undertake regular professional development to maintain and enhance their knowledge about early childhood nutrition.
 Provide food to children that has been stored, prepared and served in a safe and hygienic manner and to promote hygienic food practices.
 Ensure hands have been washed and gloves are worn or food tongs are used by all staff handling ‘ready to eat’ foods.
 Children and staff wash and dry their hands (using soap, warm running water and single use or disposable towels) before handling food or eating meals and snacks.
 Food is stored and served at safe temperatures ie below 5°C or above 60°C.
 Separate cutting boards are used for raw meat and chicken and utensils and hands are washed before touching other foods.
 Children will be discouraged from handling other children’s food and utensils.
 Food-handling staff attend relevant training courses and pass relevant information onto the rest of the staff.

Provide a positive eating environment which reflects cultural and family values
 Ensure that educators sit with the children at meal and snack times to role model healthy food and drink choices and actively engage children in conversations about the food and drink provided.
 Endeavour to recognise, nurture and celebrate the dietary differences of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
 Create a relaxed atmosphere at mealtimes where children have enough time to eat and enjoy their food as well as enjoying the social interactions with educators and other children.
 Encourage older toddlers and preschoolers to assist to set and clear the table and serve their own food and drink – providing opportunities for them to develop independence and self-esteem.
 Respect each child’s appetite. If a child is not hungry or is satisfied, do not insist he/she eats.
 Be patient with messy or slow eaters.
 Encourage children to try different foods but do not force them to eat.
 Do not use food as a reward or withhold food from children for disciplinary purposes.

Promote lifelong learning for children, early childhood staff and families about
healthy food and drink choices
 Foster awareness and understanding of healthy food and drink choices through including in the children’s program a range of learning experiences encouraging children’s healthy eating.
 Encourage children to participate in a variety of ‘hands-on’ food preparation experiences.
 Provide opportunities for children to engage in discovery learning and discussion about healthy food and drink choices.

Encourage communication with families about the provision of appropriate healthy food and drinks for children while they are attending the service
 Provide a copy of the Nutrition Policy to all families upon orientation at the service. Families will be provided with opportunities to contribute to the review and development of the policy.

NUTRITION, FOOD, BEVERAGES AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

QUALITY AREA 2: CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND SAFETY

 Request that details of any food allergies or intolerances or specific dietary requirements be provided to the service and work in partnership with families to develop an appropriate response so that children’s individual dietary needs are met.
 Communicate regularly with families about food and nutrition-related experiences within the service and provide up to date information to assist families to provide healthy food choices at home.

 

NUTRITION, FOOD, BEVERAGES AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

QUALITY AREA 2: CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND SAFETY

5. MONITORING, EVALUATION AND REVIEW

This policy will be monitored to ensure compliance with legislative requirements and unless deemed necessary through the identification of practice gaps, the service will review this Policy every two years.

Families and staff are essential stakeholders in the policy review process and will be given opportunity and encouragement to be actively involved.

In accordance with R. 172 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations, the service will ensure that families of children enrolled at the service are notified at least 14 days before making any change to a policy or procedure that may have significant impact on the provision of education and care to any child enrolled at the service; a family’s ability to utilise the service; the fees charged or the way in which fees are collected.

6. LEGISLATION AND CONSIDERATIONS

 Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010: Section 167
 Education and Care Services National Regulations: Regulations 78-80
 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 1: Educational Program and Practice – Standards 1.1,
1.2, 1.3
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 2: Children’s Health and Safety – Standards 2.1, 2.2
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 3: Physical Environment – Standards 3.1, 3.2
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 4: Staffing Arrangements – Standards 4.1, 4.2
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 5: Relationships with Children – Standards 5.1,5.2
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 6: Collaborative Partnerships with Families and
Communities – Standards 6.1, 6.2
 National Quality Standard, Quality Area 7: Governance and Leadership – Standards 7.1, 7.1.2

7. RELATED GUIDELINES, STANDARDS, FRAMEWORKS AND OTHER
SOURCES

 Australian Children & Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) – www.acecqa.gov.au
 Healthy Kids NSW – www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au
 Nutrition Australia – www.nutritionaustralia.org
 Food Standards Australia New Zealand – www.foodstandards.gov.au
 Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) – www.cela.org.au

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