How to include fruit servings in child care menusAugust 22nd, 2018
Most Australians eat only about half the recommended quantity of fruit which is concerning given the huge health benefits of eating fresh produce. Children in Child Care especially need fruit servings in child care menus to establish great eating habits and to keep them fit and healthy.
Child Care Centres are encouraged to ensure that there is the right amount of fruit servings in child care menus and to take the time to make sure meals are balanced, fresh and meet nutritional guidelines.
It is recommended toddlers eat one serving of fruit a day which increases to two servings by the time they reach the age of nine years old.
Fresh is best….
A wide variety of fruit is grown and available in Australia with plenty of choice throughout the year. Choosing fruits in season ensures better taste, quality and also adds more variety to a child’s diet throughout the year. And just like with veggies, choosing different coloured fruits increases the variety of nutrients, which can enhance your health.
Choose fruits from these different categories for variety:
- pome fruits such as apples and pears
- citrus fruit such as oranges, mandarins and grapefruit
- stone fruit such as apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums
- tropical fruit such as bananas, paw paw, mangoes, pineapple and melons
- other fruits such as grapes and passionfruit.
Recommended serving amount of fruit servings in child care menus
A serve of fruit is approximately 150g (350kJ) which is:
- 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
- 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)
- 16 grapes
- 4 large strawberries
- ½ raw fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Raisingchildren.net.au is a great resource if you would like more information on fruit servings for children.
Health benefits of fruit
Did you know there is increasing evidence that whole foods such as fruit are more effective in reducing the risk of cancer than specific vitamin and mineral supplements. There is also building evidence that some risk factors for cancer can be avoided by eating fruit (and vegetables and legumes) during childhood and early adult life.
Most fruits are low in energy (kilojoules) and high in fibre and water, making you feel fuller. This reduces the risk of over eating which can cause weight gain. The fibre in fruit is also thought to reduce the risk of some cancers, including colorectal cancer.
Fruit is abundant in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Vitamins such as vitamin C and E and different phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions. Potassium and magnesium found in fruit have also been linked to lower blood pressure.
Different coloured fruits, especially orange, red and yellow fruit, contain carotenes (Vitamin A) which are also thought to assist in immune function.
Hearty Health have been designing nutritionally balanced menus specifically for children in Child Care since the year 2000. Hearty Health include the recommended amount of fruit servings in child care menus and are passionate about creating healthy eating habits in children from a very early age. Contact us here to find out more about Hearty Health and how we can help your Child Care Centre.
P: 1300 728 762
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