What & How Often Should Children Eat in Childcare?

fruits and vegetables for a childcare centre

Proper nutrition is crucial for children's growth and development, and childcare settings are no exception. The right balance of nutrients can help young children maintain a healthy weight, develop strong bones and muscles and support their immune systems. As a childcare provider on the Gold Coast, we recognise the importance of understanding what and how often children should eat to ensure they’re receiving the proper nutrition every day.

What is the Recommended Diet for Children in Childcare?

A healthy diet for children should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, younger children should consume:

  • Up to one serving of fruit per day
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grain bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles or polenta for energy, fibre & other nutrients
  • Reduced-fat milk & dairy products or alternatives for calcium
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds & legumes/beans for protein
  • Plenty of water to stay hydrated

It’s also recommended to limit the consumption of sugary drinks, snacks and processed foods. Instead, offer healthy snack options like fresh fruit, vegetables, yoghurt or whole grain crackers.

What are the Queensland Regulations?

Queensland regulations require that childcare providers offer children a range of nutritious foods throughout the day. Childcare providers must also ensure that food is stored, prepared and served in a safe and hygienic manner. The regulations provide guidelines for serving sizes, food groups and the frequency of meals and snacks.

How Often Should Children Have Eating Breaks?

Children should have regular eating breaks throughout the day to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients and energy to support their growth, development and learning. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that children have three main meals and 2-3 snacks per day. Childcare providers should ensure that children have access to drinking water throughout the day and offer healthy snacks at regular intervals.

Benefits of Eating Breaks in Childcare

Offering regular eating breaks has many benefits for children. Eating breaks help to maintain energy levels and prevent hunger, which can lead to irritability and difficulty concentrating. Providing regular snacks and meals also ensures that children are getting the necessary nutrients for growth and development. Moreover, regular meal and snack times in childcare can also teach children about healthy eating habits and portion control. Children who learn healthy habits early are more likely to continue making healthy choices throughout their lives.

Dietary Requirements

Children with dietary requirements may require specific foods or nutrients due to medical conditions, allergies or personal preferences. We do our best ensure that each child’s needs are met by working closely with the child’s parents to develop a plan that meets dietary requirements. This may involve avoiding certain foods or providing specific snacks and meals at designated times. We also aim to be aware of cultural dietary requirements and strive to offer culturally appropriate foods to all children in our care.

Jacaranda Early Education

As a Gold Coast childcare centre, we aim to offer a healthy, balanced diet to children in our care in order to help them develop a foundation for a healthy lifestyle and get the most out of their educational experience.

We provide morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea for children, cooked and prepared onsite by our own chef following a four weekly rotating menu in conjunction with Feed Australia–a world-leading, nutritional education and preventative health initiative.

For specific dietary requests or questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly to discuss how we can best meet your child’s needs.