High costs mean children lack healthy food

Will Boddington /

According to a Geelong study of menus in 18 Victorian centres, children in day care are not getting enough fruit, cereals and vegetables.

A Deakin University study found only one of them met nutritional guidelines, while more than a third didn’t offer enough fruit.

Lead author Audrey Elford said it was concerning that only one of the childcare centers in the study met food standards guidelines.

“We know child care providers are concerned that ‘healthy menus’, which include more fruits and vegetables, will cost more because of the rising cost of these foods,” Ms. Elford said.

“Many people also believe that healthy food will simply be wasted because of the misguided belief that children prefer to eat less healthy food.”

The study found that the rising cost of healthy foods is making it harder for child care centers to provide enough fruit.

Ms Elford said recent Australian research found that the average food budget in day care centers was just $2 a day per child.

“About half of Australian children aged two to five attend some form of centre-based care for an average of 31 hours a week, or almost four eight-hour days,” she said.

“While cared for, children should receive about half of their daily nutritional requirements during morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea and even more if they eat breakfast. and a late snack in a long-term daycare.

“At this point in their development, preschoolers are establishing their preferences for different foods, so what they eat is not only important for their current nutritional needs, but it will potentially influence their eating habits throughout their lives. lifelong.”

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