Healthy Eating in Early Years Education

Apr 27, 2023

kids sit in grass eating watermelon

Healthy eating in early childhood and early years education lays the foundation for good health and lifelong habits. As children grow and develop, they require the right nutrients to support their physical, mental, and emotional growth. In a childcare setting it is essential to provide children with healthy and balanced meals to support their overall wellbeing. Children need healthy and balanced meals that meet their nutritional needs and specific cultural, religious, and dietary requirements. 

When it comes to mealtimes Embracia follows the ACECQA guidelines for nutrition, food, beverages and dietary requirements in childcare and long day-care. These guidelines emphasise:

  • Respect – show respect for all children 
  • Environment – provide a pleasant, culturally appropriate atmosphere for children at mealtimes that encourages social interaction and learning 
  • Culture – provide culturally appropriate meals, food and drink for children.
  • Nutrition – promote healthy eating and good food habits.
  • Hygiene – have staff trained in correct food handling and hygiene. 

Embracia Childcare & Kindergarten will work with parents to develop menus that suite the needs of their children. We also believe in the holistic and educational benefits food can bring. Mealtimes in childcare promote social and emotional health plus teach children lifelong skills and introduce new concepts.  

You can find more information on our Healthy Eating Program on the Daily Life section of our website. 

Challenges for healthy eating 

Children can be fussy eaters – one of the main challenges for providers and parents alike is ensuring that children eat a balanced diet. It’s important to introduce different foods early on and encourage kids to try new things. A variety of foods include vegetables, fruits, cereals, lean meat, fish, chicken, milks, yoghurts and cheeses. Also making sure children drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.  

Strategies to encourage healthy eating  

One way to encourage healthy eating is to involve children in meal planning and preparation, which can help to promote a positive attitude towards food and trying new things. Incorporating food and play is an amazing way to enrich a child’s life and share the joy of food.  

Children learn by example so modeling healthy behaviours is an effortless way to encourage healthy eating. Our educators can eat with the children, demonstrate healthy habits, and provide positive feedback when children make healthy food choices. This also fosters relationship building between the children and the educators.  

Importance of mealtimes 

Mealtimes in childcare provide an opportunity for children to build relationships and develop a sense of identity around their likes and dislikes. Food introduces ideas like community, culture and provides learning opportunities. By working with parents and following best practices for food safety and hygiene, our centre can help to ensure that children receive the best possible start in life.