Will Boddington /
Kids in childcare are not being fed enough fruit, grains and veggies according to a Geelong study of menus in 18 Victorian centres.
A Deakin University study found only one met nutrition guidelines, while over a third were not offering enough fruit.
Lead author Audrey Elford, said it was concerning that only one of the childcare centers in the study met food standard guidelines.
“We know there is a concern among childcare providers 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 just be wasted because of a mistaken belief that children prefer to eat less healthy food options.”
The study’s found the rising cost of healthy food is making it harder for childcare centered to offer enough fruit.
Ms Elford said recent Australian research found that the average food budget in child-care centers was just $2 per day per child.
“Around half of Australian children aged between two and five years of age attend some form of center-based care for an average of 31 hours per week, or almost four eight-hour days,” she said.
“While in care, children should receive about half their daily nutritional needs during morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea and even more if they are eating breakfast and a late snack in long day care.
“At this stage in their development, pre-school children are establishing their preferences for different foods so what they’re eating is not just important for their current nutritional needs but it will potentially influence their life-long food habits.”