Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood - Directors/Coordinators Book

Summary of guidelines and recommendations

Page last updated: 21 April 2011

Healthy Eating Guidlines

Healthy eating guideline 1: Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended, with positive support, for babies up to six months. Continued breastfeeding is recommended for at least 12 months – and longer if the mother and baby wish.

Healthy eating guideline 2: If an infant is not breastfed, is partially breastfed, or if breastfeeding is discontinued, use an infant formula until 12 months of age.

Healthy eating guideline 3: Introduce suitable solids at around six months.

Healthy eating guideline 4: Make sure that food offered to children is appropriate to the child’s age and development, and includes a wide variety of nutritious foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia (see page 3).

Healthy eating guideline 5: Provide water in addition to age-appropriate milk drinks. Infants under the age of six months who are not exclusively breastfed can be offered cooled boiled water in addition to infant formula.

Healthy eating guideline 6: Plan mealtimes to be positive, relaxed and social.

Healthy eating guideline 7: Encourage children to try different food types and textures in a positive eating environment.

Healthy eating guideline 8: Offer an appropriate amount of food, but allow children to decide themselves how much they will actually eat.

Healthy eating guideline 9: Offer meals and snacks at regular and predictable intervals.

Healthy eating guideline 10: Ensure that food is safely prepared for children to eat – from the preparation stages to consumption.

Physical Activity Recommendations

Recommendation: For healthy development in infants (birth to 1 year), physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.

Recommendation: Toddlers (1 to 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.

Recommendation: Children younger than two years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).
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Recommendation: For children two to five years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.

Recommendation: Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should not be sedentary, restrained or kept inactive for more than one hour at a time – with the exception of sleeping.

Food for Health: Dietary Guideliens for Children and Adolescents in Australia

Encourage and support breastfeeding.

Children and adolescents need sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally.
  • Growth should be checked regularly for young children.
  • Physical activity is important for children and adolescents.

Enjoy a wide range of nutritious foods.

Children and adolescents should be encouraged to:
  • eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
  • eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain
  • include lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives
  • include milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives. Reduced-fat milks are not suitable for children under two years, because of their high energy needs, but reduced-fat varieties should be encouraged for older children and adolescents
  • choose water as a drink
and care should be taken to:
  • limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake. Low-fat diets are not suitable for infants
  • choose foods low in salt
  • consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars.
Care for your child’s food: prepare and store it safely.

Commonwealth of Australia, 2003. Reproduced with permission of the Australian Government, 2009