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The New Dietary Guidelines

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The New Dietary Guidelines

Eat for Health’ or the new Australian Dietary Guidelines – reviewed and released in February 2013 – helps you to provide your toddler with the essential energy and nutrients they need to thrive. It includes serving sizes based on your child’s age and gender, with the recommended portions offering a wide variety of foods to meet their dietary needs.

The Guidelines are based on five main principles:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose nutritious foods and drinks to meet your energy needs and to help your child grow and develop normally
  2. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day to provide your little one with a greater range of vitamins and minerals
  3. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt and sugars and alcohol. Children require fat for good growth, however choosing unsaturated varieties and lean meat will assist with good health
  4. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding where possible and safe
  5. Care for your food – prepare and store it safely – as little bodies are more susceptible to food poisoning

If you would like more information about the guidelines, visit: www.eatforhealth.gov.au

Dietary guidelines – The 5 food groups

In order for your toddler to be healthy it’s important that they eat a balanced diet. All foods can be put into one of five food groups and the key is to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods from each of these five groups.

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Vegetables

Vegetables make up the largest food group, providing your little one with a range of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre for a healthy digestive system.
One serving of vegetables is equal to ½ cup of cooked vegetables, 1 cup of salad vegetables or about the size of 1 medium tomato.

Fruit

Fruit is another great source of vitamins, as well as carbohydrates for energy. Whole fruits with the skin on will provide extra dietary fibre while dried and tinned fruits can be enjoyed in moderation. Fresh fruit is preferred over juice, as excess consumption is not healthy for little teeth and may upset sensitive tummies.
A serve of fruit is one medium apple, an orange or small banana, two apricots or kiwi fruit or one cup of fruit salad.

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Grains and cereals

This group includes foods such as wheat, oats, rice, rye, barley, millet, quinoa and corn, which are often made into breads, cereals, pasta and noodles. Including these foods in your little one’s diet will provide carbohydrates for energy and are often fortified with essential nutrients such as B vitamins and iron. Choosing minimally-processed whole grains or high-fibre varieties will provide extra dietary fibre for healthy digestion and keeps the nutrients intact.
One serving of this food group is equal to 1 slice of bread, ½ medium roll, ½ cup of cooked pasta, rice, noodles, quinoa or porridge, 2/3 cup cereal flakes or about 3 crisp breads.

Meat and alternatives

This group includes meat, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu and legumes. These foods provide protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12, vital for healthy growth and a strong immune system.
Serving sizes of this group are less than most parents expect, with one serve equal to 65g of cooked red meat, 80g of cooked poultry, 100g cooked fish, 2 eggs, 1 cup of legumes, 170g tofu or 30g of nuts and seeds.
Remember a serve can be split into a few child-friendly portions over the day.

Dairy and alternatives

Dairy is included as a food group as it provides an excellent source of calcium for strong bones and teeth, protein for growth as well as a range of other vitamins and minerals. Toddlers under 2 years of age should be given full cream dairy products, as their energy levels are high; switch to reduced fat dairy after their second birthday to decrease the saturated fat content.
One serving of this food group is equal to 1 cup of milk or, 2 slices of cheese (40g), ½ cup of ricotta cheese or 200g of yoghurt.

How much is the right amount for your child?

Recommended average daily number of serves from each of the 5 food groups below.

Food group Gender 2-3 years 4-8 years 9-11 years
Vegetables Both 2 ½ 4 ½ 5
Fruit Both 1 1 ½ 2
Meat and Alternatives Both 1 1 ½ 2 ½
Grains & Cereals Boys 4 4 5
Girls 4 4 4
Dairy Boys 1 ½ 2 2 ½
Girls 1 ½ 1 ½ 3
Others
Unsaturated oils Both ½
Discretionary or extras Both small amounts

 

If you would like more information about the guidelines, visit: www.eatforhealth.gov.au

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