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									          The Development of a
       Practical Food and Nutrition

                                    Kristin Leaity

       Formal childcare is a rapidly growing industry in New Zealand. Children can spend up
to eight or more hours each day in care facilities. During this time they may be provided
with at least one main meal and two snacks, which is a significant proportion of their daily
food intake. Because proper nutrition in early childhood is essential for the normal growth
and development of a child, childcare centres need to ensure that the food they provide is
nutritionally adequate.
       Current recommendations and guidelines for the types and amounts of foods to
provide children in care vary among and within countries. At present New Zealand does not
have regulations governing the proportion of a child’s nutritional requirements that should
be provided by childcare centres. In 2002, Auckland Regional Public Health Dietitians
detected an expressed need by childcare centre managers and cooks for a practical nutrition
resource, containing information on the types and amounts of food to provide children in
care, as well as general nutrition information.

To determine the proportion of a preschooler’s nutritional requirements that should be
provided by New Zealand childcare centres through a review of current literature
To identify the needs and wants of childcare centres for a written nutrition resource
To research, develop, pre-test and refine a practical food and nutrition manual containing
recommendations for the types and amounts of foods provided to children in care and
relevant nutrition information identified as useful by the centres
The ADA and several Australian states recommended that childcare centres provide children
with half to two thirds of their daily nutritional requirements. Numerous studies showed that
childcare centres failed to meet these standards. The recommendation to provide half of
children’s daily requirements from each of the food groups was shown to be a more
achievable standard and in line with children’s usual eating patterns.

Questionnaire- sent to 20% of all long-day care centres in Auckland*
Four regional workshops for Auckland long-day childcare centres*
Two one-on-one interviews with members of the target group
Meeting with a member of the provider agency (Auckland Regional Public Health Service)
Major topic areas the target audience wanted in the resource were; what children of
different ages should eat, how to prepare a nutrition policy, how to prepare a menu, and
menu ideas.

The 59 page “Food For Under 5’s” resource was developed in Microsoft Word 2000 and had a
readability grade level of 10. The quantity of information in the resource was kept to a
minimum and the presentation eye-catching.

Focus group with four content experts- dietitians working at Child Health and Family
Three one-on-one interviews with members of the target group
Copies given to practicum supervisors, a member of the provider agency, and the Ministry of
Health’s Auckland Public Health Portfolio Manager
The resource met all the needs of the target audience, as identified in the needs
assessment. Major reported strengths were; the simplicity of language, the quantity of
information, and the overall presentation of the resource. Suggestions made to improve the
technical accuracy of the written material were implemented in the refinement phase.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service has approved funding for production and
distribution of the resource, which will be distributed free to all long day care centres in
Auckland and at a small cost to centres outside Auckland.

* Conducted by the Nutrition Team at Auckland Regional Public Health Service
Below are examples of pages from the resource.

                                        Introduction                              4
                                        Te Whaariki and nutrition                 5

                                        Section 1- Nutrition Basics               6
                                        Dietary guidelines for preschoolers       7

                                        Food groups                                8
                                        Serving size examples                      9
                                        Mix ‘n’ match- lunchbox ideas for day care 10
                                        Facts on fat                               11
                                        The sugar story                            13
                                        Snack bars                                 14
                                        All about iron                             15
                                        Calcium                                    16
                                        Vegetarian eating                          17
                                        Allergies and intolerances                 18
                                        Common nutrition myths                     19
                                        Introducing solids                         20
                                        Weaning guidelines                         21

                                        Section 2- Food and Nutrition
                                        Policies      22
                                        Food and nutrition policy                 23
         Section 1                      Example of a food and nutrition policy    24

                                        Section 3- Menu Planning
                                        Planning a menu                           27
    NUTRITION                           Menu plan template
                                        Evaluate your menu

     BASICS                             Section 4- Nutritious Menu Ideas          30
                                        Healthful snack ideas                     31
                                        Healthful lunch ideas                     32
                                        Drinks                                    33

                                        Section 5- Recipes
                                        Snacks                                    35
                                        Main meals                                40
                                        Puddings                                  50
                                        Recipes from other cultures               52
   •   Most high sugar foods tend to be low in other nutrients and may take
       away children’s appetites for more nutritious foods
   •   Foods that are sugary and sticky can cause tooth decay
   •   Promote non-sticky foods and foods that do not contain lots of sugar

   Sugar content of popular food and drinks
                                                     Sugary and/or sticky

       Better Choices                                Better Left Ou
 - Fresh fruit                                    - High fat/sugar muesli bars*
 - Bread, rolls, crumpets                         - Fruit roll ups
 - Plain crackers                                 - Sweet biscuits
 - Plain biscuits and cakes                       - Sweet cakes
 - Rice cakes                                     - Lollies
 - Low fat muesli bars*                           - Chocolate
 - Fruit yoghurt
                                                  - Softdrinks
 - Water                                          - Fruit juice
 - Milk                                           - Energy drinks
                                                  - Cordials

* See page 12

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