What is feedAustralia?
feedAustralia is an online menu planning tool designed to assist early childhood education and care providers move towards healthier menus. It is based on the NSW child care Nutritional Guidelines ‘Caring for Children’, and is designed by experts in the field. The feedAustralia online menu planning tool, works by providing a platform to enter all your meals and snacks, quantities and recipes, using a searchable database of over 2,000 food items. The online menu planning tool will compare your menu with nutritional guidelines and will assist your service to make changes to meet these guidelines.
Why focus on early childhood education and care?
Foods provided in early childhood education and care settings contribute to the growth and development of children and future eating habits. Helping early childhood education and care providers provide healthier foods is a great way to improve a child’s diet and overall health, especially when full-time child care can account for up to 67 per cent of a child’s diet
What are the feedAustralia food group recommendations?
The feedAustralia food groups and serve sizes are based on the 2013 National Dietary Guidelines developed by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
How does feedAustralia calculate food groups?
The calculation of food groups in feedAustralia is underpinned by a comprehensive national food composition database (NUTTAB) which lists over 2,000 foods typically consumed by Australians. Using information from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, our dietitians have classed each food item to a food group together with quantities that correspond to a serve size.
How do feedAustralia recommendations align with other state guidelines?
All states in Australia recommend that child care services provide foods that are consistent with Australian Dietary Guidelines. The cut-offs for feedAustralia are based on the key recommendation that child care services provide children with at least 50 per cent of the daily recommended intake for each food group within an eight hour period.
Does providing food in-line with National Dietary Guidelines lead to an increase in wastage?
For many early childhood education and care providers, the amount of food required to meet nutritional requirements may be more than expected. There are a number of strategies that can be put in place to reduce waste including making gradual substitutions and taking a whole of service approach. Where these strategies are employed, research suggests that changing menus does not increase wastage. In fact, it actually reduces wastage as ingredients are purchased based on serving size requirements of children attending your service.
How do you use feedAustralia for children with special dietary requirements?
feedAustralia has a built in alert system to inform and assist early childhood education and care providers in menu planning for children with allergies so they can make substitutions where required. feedAustralia is not designed specifically for children with special dietary needs or specific behaviours that may impact on what they eat. In such cases, the specific needs of these children should be discussed in detail with families and alternate menu plans developed.
What does this say about the effectiveness of current government regulations?
Early childhood education and care providers have made many positive changes in the way they provide food in the last decade. feedAustralia is designed to complement current Government regulation and helps providers to reflect, plan and work towards healthier menus in accordance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
How much does it cost?
feedAustralia is a paid program* with a nominal fee to support the future growth and to support its users. Pricing for single service providers (Centre Based Day Care, Registered Care, Out Side School Hours Care) is $1 per child/per year based on the approved number of children listed within the services Service Approval form. The minimum cost is $20 for those services that are approved for under 20 children or those services that are not yet approved but planning on doing so soon. FDC Educators are charged a flat rate of $20 per annum for full use of the program and there is no need for them to upload a service approval form.
* All services and Family Day Care Educators currently accessing either HubWorks! or Educate via the HubHello platform get free access to feedAustralia.