Healthy Eating Guideline

Offer 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.

Eating together

  • 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.

Fussy eaters

  • 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