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Yarm Gwanga Food and Beverage Dietary Guideline

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) This Guideline acknowledges that nutritious food and regular physical activity supports the normal growth and development of children, reduces the risk of developing chronic lifestyle related diseases later in life and influences positive eating behaviours. To support these outcomes Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. promote healthy lifestyles, good nutrition and the wellbeing of all children, educators and families;
  2. support and provide for children with food allergies, dietary requirements and restrictions and specific cultural and religious practices; and
  3. consult and encourage families to share family and multicultural practices, values and experiences to enrich the variety and enjoyment of children's food experiences.

(2) This Guideline has adopted the principles of the Australian Government Department of Health publication, Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood and for the purposes of clause 168 (2)(a)(i) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations is considered to be the policy and procedure.

(3) This Guideline satisfies the Early Years Learning Framework, Learning Outcome 3 — "Children have a strong sense of wellbeing", and the following National Quality Standards:

  1. Quality Area 2 Children's Health and Safety
    1. Standard 2.1 Each child's health is promoted
      1. Element 2.1.2 Effective illness and injury management and hygiene practices are promoted and implemented.
      2. Element 2.1.3 Healthy eating is promoted and physical activity are promoted and appropriate for each child.
  2. Quality Area 7 Governance and Leadership 
    1. Standard 7.1 Governance
      1. Element 7.1.2 Systems are in place to manage risk and enable effective management and operation of a quality service
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Section 2 - Scope

(4) This Guideline applies to all UNE Representatives, children and families, and all visitors to the Yarm Gwanga Services.

(5) Some clauses will not apply during Vacation Care periods (Outside School Hours Care only) as families provide their child's lunch and drinks.

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Section 3 - Guideline

Food and Beverages

(6) Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. provide children with a wide variety of healthy and nutritious foods for meals and snacks including fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereal products, dairy products, lean meats and alternatives. Specifically:
    1. children over two years of age will be provided a diet low in fat and in particular, low in saturated fat;
    2. children under two years of age will not be provided with a low fat diet, as their high energy needs render such a diet unsuitable; and
    3. children under 12 months of age (ie. infants) are kept on breast milk or infant formula as their main drink.
  2. ensure children are offered foods and beverages throughout the day that are appropriate to their nutritional and specific dietary requirements – requirements are based on written advice from families;
  3. choose foods based on the individual needs of children, whether they are based on their likes, dislikes, growth and developmental needs, cultural, religious or health requirements. Families will be reminded to update this information as required;
  4. ensure that meals and/or snack are served in a safe, clean, positive environment;
  5. ensure water is readily available for children to drink throughout the day;
  6. ensure young children do not have access to foods that may cause choking;
  7. ensure children are supervised whilst eating and drinking and remain seated at meal times;
  8. encourage and provide opportunities for cooking staff and educators to undertake regular professional development to maintain and enhance their knowledge of early childhood nutrition;
  9. ensure children who do not eat during routine meal times or children who are hungry will be provided with foods at periods other than meal times or snack times;
  10. ensure food is consistent with the service's menu, based on the following Australian Government guidelines:
    1. Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood ;
    2. Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia ; and
    3. National Healthy Eating Guidelines for Early Childhood Settings .

Food Safety and Hygiene

(7) Food safety and hygiene practices are critically important in early childhood settings and play a crucial role in minimising the risk of:

  1. children choking on food;
  2. allergic, intolerant or sensitive reactions to foods; and
  3. food contamination.

(8) Yarm Gwanga will ensure that:

  1. gloves are worn or food tongs are used by all staff handling 'ready to eat' foods;
  2. children and staff wash and dry their hands before food preparation and after toileting and nappy changing;
  3. food is only purchased from trusted suppliers, packages are not broken or tampered with, and products are within the use-by date;
  4. food is stored and served at safe temperatures ie below 5 degrees or above 60 degrees;
  5. cutting boards are colour coded for each food group as follows:
    1. Red boards for raw meat and raw chicken;
    2. Green boards for fruit and vegetables;
    3. Brown boards for cooked meat;
    4. Blue boards for raw fish; and
    5. White boards for bread.
  6. cutting boards, cooking utensils, cutting knives and any cutlery used during food preparation, are washed and dried after use with one food group, and before being used on the next, to avoid contamination;
  7. all kitchen areas are kept clean, including benches being wiped with sanitiser prior to and after food preparation;
  8. low-risk foods are stored in sealed containers once their packages have been opened;
  9. high-risk foods are refrigerated, and remain in the refrigerator until they are ready to be cooked or consumed;
  10. unserved cooked food:
    1. is labelled (date cooked and contents) and stored in the refrigerator;
    2. is only reheated once to the point of steaming hot, allowed to cool to serving temperature and eaten immediately; and
    3. that has been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours is discarded.
  11. served but uneaten food is discarded;
  12. children are discouraged from handling other children's food and utensils;
  13. food handling staff will attend relevant training courses and pass relevant information onto the rest of the staff;
  14. a minimum of two Yarm Gwanga staff members hold a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate; and
  15. all recommendations from the annual inspection that occurs in accordance with the requirements of the Food Act 2003 and the Food Regulation 2015, are implemented. The inspection is carried out by Armidale Regional Council in partnership with the NSW Food Authority and is un-notified.


(9) To ensure the provision of food and beverages is nutritious, seasonal and adequate in quantity, Yarm Gwanga develops a seasonal weekly menu based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

(10) The weekly menu will:

  1. accurately describe the food and beverages provided each day of the week;
  2. be evaluated based on feedback from children, families and educators/staff, and will inform future menu planning; and
  3. be displayed in an accessible and prominent area for families to view. Each season the planned weekly menu's will be provided to families through the newsletter.

(11) Menu alterations may occur due to unforeseen circumstances (for example, deliveries not arriving, or fresh food not being available). Where alterations are deemed necessary, they will be documented in the daily information provided to families via each room's child sleep/eat.

(12) Families will be provided with daily information about their child's food and beverage intake and related experiences.

Food Allergies or Intolerances

(13) Where children have food allergies or intolerances confirmed by a medical professional (being a general practitioner, dietician or paediatrician) Yarm Gwanga will actively adhere to the medical recommendations and special dietary needs, ensuring that these are communicated to all staff who directly care for the child.

(14) Exceptions to this Guideline and the national nutritional guidelines may be required when a medical condition requires a dietary intake of certain foods. For example, children with cystic fibrosis require a higher than normal dietary intake of salt, fat and protein.

(15) For children with confirmed food allergies or intolerances, individual action plans will be developed in consultation with families, educators and medical professionals. Individual action plans:

  1. are located:
    1. on display in the relevant child's room;
    2. in the child's enrolment file; and
    3. on display in the Yarm Gwanga office.
  2. updated at least annually, and other times as required; and
  3. used to inform and update the kitchen and room allergy list by providing a list of suitable and unsuitable foods for the individual child.

(16) If food preferences are not supported by documentary evidence from a medical professional, families will be required to supply their child's food requirements.

Communication with Families

(17) Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. provide families with access to, and the opportunity to contribute to the review of, this Guideline;
  2. request that details of specific dietary requirements (e.g. cultural or religious) be provided to the Service;
  3. engage in regular meetings with families whose children require specific dietary requirements;
  4. communicate regularly with families about food and nutrition related experiences within the service and provide up to date information to assist families to provide healthy food choices at home; and
  5. record what children have eaten during the day for families to access.

Positive eating environment that reflects cultural and family values

(18) Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. ensure that all educators sit with the children at meal and snack times to role model healthy food and drink choices and actively engage children in positive conversations about the food and drink provided;
  2. endeavour to respect, recognise, nurture and celebrate the dietary differences of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Cultural and religious beliefs must be respected when planning, preparing and discussing food and meals (eg. inclusion of Kosher or Halal food as required);
  3. endeavour to create a relaxed atmosphere at mealtimes, where children have enough time to eat and enjoy their food as well as their social interactions with educators and other children;
  4. encourage pre-schoolers to assist in serving their own food and drink, and/or clean up after meals - thus providing them opportunities to develop independence and self-esteem;
  5. respect each child's appetite;
  6. be patient with messy or slow eaters;
  7. encourage children to try different foods;
  8. not force a child to, or insist a child eats;
  9. not use food as a reward or withhold food from children for disciplinary purposes; and
  10. ensure that staff routinely identify opportunities for discovery learning and discussion about healthy food and drink choices.

Breastfeeding, breast milk and appropriate introduction of solid foods

(19) Yarm Gwanga encourages the breastfeeding of infants for as long as it is possible and practical. To support families choosing to breastfeed their infants, Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. provide a suitable place within the service for mothers to breastfeed their babies or express breast milk;
  2. ensure the safe handling of expressed breast milk and preparation of infant formula including its transportation, storage, thawing and warming;
  3. require breast milk or prepared formula brought from home to Yarm Gwanga be stored in sterilised bottles and transported in an insulated container with an ice brick or frozen water bottle. Each bottle of milk is to be clearly labelled to include the full name of child as well as a 'use by' date in accordance with the requirements below:
    1. at home, milk should be stored in sterilised bottles in the coldest part of the refrigerator (5 degrees Celcius or lower), and can be kept for three days (72 hours); and
    2. milk can be frozen in a freezer compartment inside a refrigerator for up to two weeks at minus fifteen degrees Celcius; for up to three months if stored at minus eighteen degrees Celcius (for example, in a separate freezer); and from six to twelve months if stored at minus twenty degrees Celcius (for example, in a deep freezer).
  4. support mothers to continue breastfeeding, while offering appropriate complementary foods to children from around six months of age;
  5. substitute with a commercial infant formula where breastfeeding is discontinued before twelve months of age;
  6. offer cooled pre-boiled water as an additional drink for all babies from around six months of age;
  7. ensure an appropriate variety of food (type and texture) are introduced to children from around six months of age;
  8. adjust the texture of foods offered between six and twelve months of age to match the baby's developmental stage;
  9. ensure safe bottle feeding and eating practices at all times; and
  10. provide additional breastfeeding information available from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, either online via the Association website or from the Breastfeeding Helpline, 1800 MUM 2 MUM (1800 686 2 686).

Dental Health

(20) Yarm Gwanga systematically incorporates information relating to positive dental health practice into the children's learning and activity program. Age relevant dental health information distributed by recognised health and dental authorities, will be provided to families.

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Education and Information

(21) All UNE Representatives will actively role model the information contained in this Guideline, including modelling appropriate food behaviours such as: only drinking water in front of the children; and not eating foods high in fat, sugar or salt in front of the children.

(22) Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. regularly incorporate nutrition, food and beverage, and dietary information into learning programs;
  2. foster awareness and an understanding of healthy food and drink choices both opportunistically and throughout the children's regular learning and activity program, to encourage healthy eating; and
  3. promote and deliver consistent food and nutrition messages to children (i.e. through the food provided on a daily basis, and at special events and as part of fundraisers).

Authority and Compliance

(23) The Guideline Administrator, Director UNE Life, makes these Guidelines.

(24) UNE Representatives must observe these Guidelines in relation to University matters.

(25) These Guidelines operate as and from the Effective Date.

(26) Previous Policies/Procedures/Guidelines relating to Yarm Gwanga Nutrition, Food and Beverages and Dietary requirements are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Guideline.

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Section 4 - Definitions

For the purposes of this Guideline the following definitions apply:

(27) High-risk foods are defined in the Get up & Grow, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood - Directors/Coordinators Book as "foods that allow the easy growth of bacteria are those that are moist and contain a lot of nutrients. These foods, called 'high-risk' foods, include milk, meat and fish, as well as any dishes containing them. Cooked rice also allows some bacteria to grow. If these foods are left out of the refrigerator for long periods of time they will spoil, but will only cause illness if they contain harmful pathogenic bacteria. Keeping food safe for consumption relies on controlling all aspects of food handling and any food-related conditions, to ensure that bacteria cannot reproduce and grow to large numbers."

(28) Low-risk foods are defined in the Get up & Grow, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood - Directors/Coordinators Book as "foods unlikely to encourage bacterial growth, or 'low-risk' foods, include uncooked pasta and rice, breads and biscuits, packaged snack foods, lollies and chocolates. These foods can be kept safely for long periods of time without refrigeration. Canned food is safe while the can is still sealed, but once opened the food may become high-risk. Lollies, chocolates and many packaged snack foods are 'sometimes foods', and should not be offered in the setting. Low-risk foods are useful for the store cupboard at early childhood settings, but need to be combined with high-risk foods in an adequate eating pattern to provide proper nutrition."

(29) Visitor includes, but is not limited to, students on practical placements, volunteers, community members and persons conducting inspections/audits.

(30) Yarm Gwanga refers to both the Yarm Gwanga Preschool & Early Education Centre as well as Yarm Gwanga Vacation Care