Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 5 No 2 Contents BELONGING EARLY YEARS JOURNAL • VOLUME 5 NUMBER 2 • 2016 • 63
nutrition + menu planning
Having a healthy menu is one way to promote
healthy eating; however, when we look more
widely at the whole service, there are several
opportunities that can help you to achieve a healthy
First off, it’s best to start with a plan to address the
key areas where implementation will occur. Adopting
a whole-of-service approach will support sustainable
change, share the responsibility across the setting,
and can be an enjoyable and beneficial experience
for the whole team.
To help you get started, this article will outline some
key areas to consider.
Drive leadership and commitment
When management is leading the way with healthy
changes, it encourages all staff members to get on
board. Being a leader in your sector can benefit
the whole organisation by attracting more families,
exceeding the NQS requirements and boosting
Here are some tips to get underway:
Engage the director/senior management in the
healthy eating planning.
Create a health and wellbeing team. Even if it
only comprises a few people, this team will help
lead the changes and influence others through
their enthusiasm for promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Remember to include parents in the team.
Provide resourcing to enable healthy changes,
such as providing training opportunities for staff,
time for cooks to source new healthy recipes, a
budget for health-promotion activities, and food
and drink provision. If there is no budget, partner
with local initiatives in your community that
complement your work.
Find ways to involve the whole service, including
staff members, volunteers, children and families.
Involve other groups, like health professionals and
Action your policy
Having an up-to-date healthy eating policy is not only
an important step in achieving a health-promoting
environment, but it is also a requirement of the NQS.
A healthy eating policy should refer to the Australian
Dietary Guidelines2, the Australian Government’s
Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
2 National Health and Medical Research Council, ‘Australian Dietary
Guidelines’, Commonwealth of Australia, 2013. Available at: eatforhealth.
for Early Childhood3, the NQS, state early childcare
frameworks, the Infant Feeding Guidelines4, and menu-
planning guidelines5. Think about how your policy
addresses cultural, religious and health requirements,
the mealtime environment, curriculum activities and
learning opportunities, special occasions, families, and
the wider community. A policy that is applied across
the service will help you to make successful, long-term
changes to the food and drinks that you provide, and
to your promotional activities.
A healthy eating policy template is available on
our Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) website at
heas.health.vic.gov.au. The HEAS is supported by the
Victorian Government through Nutrition Australia's
Tap into support services
A great way to demonstrate your commitment to
healthy eating is by getting involved with local health
initiatives. Jump onto your state government website
to see what is available in your area. In Victoria, the
Achievement Program6 provides an evidence-based
framework to create a healthy environment, and to
support the health and wellbeing of everyone in your
organisation. The HEAS7 provides nutrition expertise
through training, menu reviews, fact sheets and a
Upskill in healthy eating
Nourish your knowledge and skills by participating
in professional development opportunities. Consider
upskilling in topics such as healthy menu planning,
3 Australian Government Department of Health, ‘Get Up & Grow:
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood’ resources,
Commonwealth of Australia, 2013. Available at: health.gov.au/internet/
4 National Health and Medical Research Council, ‘Infant Feeding
Guidelines: Information for health workers’, Commonwealth of Australia,
2013. Available at: eatforhealth.gov.au.
5 Healthy Eating Advisory Service, ‘Menu Planning Guidelines’,
Department of Health & Human Services, 2012. Available at: heas.health.
6 Cancer Council Victoria, Achievement Program, Department of Health
& Human Services, 2012, Available at: achievementprogram.health.vic.
7 Nutrition Australia, Healthy Eating Advisory Service, Department of
Health & Human Services, 2012, Available at: heas.health.vic.gov.au.
Having an up-to-date healthy
eating policy is not only an
important step in achieving a
but it is also a requirement
of the NQS
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