Nutritious choices for ECE services

Nutritious choices for ECE services

FeedAustralia is a not-for-profit program, developed in collaboration with Hunter New England Health, which provides a free menu planning tool in the form of an app to help early childhood education and care services plan nutritious menus for their centres.

The online menu planning tool was built and trialled specifically to integrate with Federal Child Care quality regulations.

feedAustralia has been developed through a partnership with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Population Health and Healthy Australia. The program's online menu planning tool will be used to monitor, assess and improve the delivery of food and drinks provided to children in early childhood education and care, in alignment with Australian Dietary Guidelines.

It will be available to all early childhood education and care providers at no cost.

One of FeedAustralia’s goals is to significantly increase menu options which align with the National Quality Standard, especially Standard 2.2.

For service providers, some of the benefits of the feedAustralia app include providing easy menus which are planned according to guidelines, minimising food wastage, and the ability to suggest nutritious menu replacements.

feedAustralia spokesperson Jenni Pattinson said feedback from the sector said menu planning is quite complicated.

“It’s not just about food choices, but how much to serve. Catering for different children on different days can also be tricky. This app can help simplifying those things,” said Ms Pattinson.

For further information on the program, please visit the feedAustralia website.

Early childhood education and care providers are invited to register their interest in the feedAustralia program. feedAustralia will be available to all providers in early 2018.

Early childhood settings provide many opportunities for children to experience a range of healthy foods and to learn about food choices.

One of the aims of Quality area 2, children’s health and safety, under the National Quality Standard is to promote children’s health through healthy eating. Services are assessed and rated on health and safety standards including promoting healthy and nutritious food and drinks for each child.

Good nutrition is essential to healthy living and enables children to be active participants in play.

The approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that the food or beverage provided is nutritious and chosen withregard to the dietary requirements of individual children.

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