New research from Deakin University shows FoodChecker, an online menu planning tool, is important for making healthy food available for children in Victorian long day care services.
Many children spend up to three days a week in long day care where they need healthy food to meet their nutrition needs. But food in long day care does not always meet dietary guidelines.
The Victorian Government has addressed this challenge by funding an online menu planning tool called FoodChecker which is delivered by Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Advisory Service. FoodChecker is helping long day care services make their menus healthier and more aligned with Victoria’s menu planning guidelines.
To learn more about how FoodChecker is used researchers from Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) asked long day care cooks and directors about their experiences with using FoodChecker . They found that providing healthy food for children is an important priority for staff in long day care, but limited time and resources make it challenging to achieve. The staff said that using FoodChecker helps them to overcome these challenges and provides confidence that they are offering the foods that children need for optimal health, wellbeing, growth and development. The full results of the study are published in JMIR Formative Research.
This research is part of IPAN’s focus on promoting health in the first 2000 days of life, and researchers are members of the National Nutrition Network – Early Childhood Education and Care.