Goodstart takes on feedAustralia
Tackling the obesity epidemic in young Australians by providing a free menu planning tool for early childhood providers is the aim of a new Department of Health initiative.
The feedAustralia program translates the world’s best nutritional know-how into an everyday, ready-to-use menu planning tool.
Goodstart Early Learning centres in Western Australia have jumped on board, using the tool to ensure their children are learning great eating habits to reduce the risks of obesity later in life.
Meals given to children in early learning centres can account for up to 67 per cent of their daily nutritional requirements.
WA State Manager Todd Dawson said the program was one of a number of initiatives being rolled out in the state to not only target healthy eating in children but enhance the service offer in the centres in which we provide food.
The feedAustralia initiative has been developed through a four-year partnership with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Population Health and Healthy Australia. Its aim is to provide early learners providers with a free program that translates expert nutritional knowledge into everyday best food selection.
“This program is all about improving the nutritional environment in early learning which can then have a positive impact on diet and learning behaviours,” Mr Dawson said.
“Studies show the benefits of instilling healthy eating habits from a young age are far-reaching.”
The online tool includes more than 200 healthy recipes and snack suggestions. They’re easy to prepare and make the most of seasonal produce.
Recipes currently being used by centre cooks can be input into feedAustralia free of charge and nutritional resources, including suggestions and tips, will be sent back.
Goodstart Darch chef Roisin Richardson is using the program ensure her menus are meeting the Australian standards.
“It’s a really easy system to use, with great recipes made using seasonal produce and substitutions where required,” Ms Richardson said. “The recipes are all for 40 serves and are easy to convert for larger numbers,” she said.
“You can also put your own recipes into the system and it will come back with the nutritional value tables that can then be shared with parents.
“The best thing is putting in your menu and seeing if you hit the Nutrition Australia target. If you don’t you can change things up to ensure the children are getting the best possible nutrition.”
Goodstart Welshpool centre cook Alex Parker said food should not only be nourishing children but starting a conversation about healthy eating.
“Good food can help give children the best start in life and it’s great to be able to start educating children, families and our educators about healthy eating.”
The Australian government has committed $1.08 million to the roll out of the project. It will be available to Goodstart Early Learning centres on June 1.
Did you know:
- Four out of five children don’t eat enough vegetables
- One in four parents are aware of the recommended daily intake of vegetables
- Almost half of young children receive “treat” foods most days of the week
- One third of all children regularly consume sugar-sweetened drinks.
SOURCE: RCH National Child Poll
Take a look at the feedAustralia tool now at: www.feedaustralia.org.au