Healthy Eating GuidelineOffer an appropriate amount of food, but allow children to decide themselves how much they will actually eat.
Are you hungry?
- Kids should be given the opportunity to decide how much they will eat from the food that is offered.
- This helps kids to learn to eat as much as they need and to notice when they feel hungry or full.
- Make sure all meals and snacks are healthy – that way if kids only eat from one of the meals offered, they will be eating healthy food.
I’m still hungry
- Have extra healthy food available if a child is still hungry.
- Extra servings of the main meal can be offered if available.
- Offer a healthy snack like fruit, yoghurt, or cheese cut into sticks.
- Sharing food develops fine motor skills such as pouring and passing.
- Eating together helps kids to learn to share and talk.
- Serve food at a table so kids can help themselves.
- Help the kids to use the plates, bowls, spoons and cups provided.
- Don’t focus on the child or make a fuss.
- Offer healthy food choices but not ones that are different from the other kids.
- Try new foods.
- Keep a mealtime routine.
- Let the child leave the table.
- Kids can be fussy eaters when they are sick or tired.
- Kids may refuse to eat if they have too much food on their plate or if they have filled up on drinks or snacks before meals.
- Limit drinks or snacks between meals.
- Set a limit of 30 minutes for a meal.
- Take away the uneaten food and never force a child to eat.
- Re-offer foods that have been refused – it may take up to 10 times before it is tried.
- Allow the child to decide how much they want to eat.
Kids' appetites change from day to day
- If a child always seems hungry or never wants to eat, talk to the early childhood service director and the family.
- Encourage parents or carers to monitor growth using the growth charts in their child’s health record or book