For school aged children

For school aged children

  • Childhood is an important time to learn about food and eating and develop healthy habits for life. Children who eat well are able to be active, participate, learn, grow, develop and fulfil their potential.
  • We know that education and health are inseparable and that a healthy child learns well.  Schools have an important role in helping all children to eat well and be active by having routines that make healthy choices easy choices and a normal part of every day.  Schools can provide consistent positive messages about healthy eating and activity throughout the curriculum and the wider school environment, for example the canteen, classroom rewards and fundraising, which can all reinforce and normalise the behaviours within the school environment.
  • Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children (5-12 years) provide information on the amount and type of physical activity that children need for healthy growth and development.

Australian Dietary Guidelines

Guideline 1

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs

  • Children and adolescents should eat sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally. They should be physically active every day and their growth should be checked regularly.

Guideline 2

Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day:

  • Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of two years)

And drink plenty of water.

Guideline 3

Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol

  1. Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.
    • Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
    • Low fat diets are not suitable for children under the age of two years.
    • Read labels to choose lower sodium options among similar foods.
    • Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.
  2. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.
  3. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.
  4. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

Please note: For children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

Guideline 4

Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding.

Guideline 5

Care for your food; prepare and store it safely.

Resources for parents and families of school aged children

December 2014