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Kids and families

Two chideren eating melon

Giving children the best start in life can help to ensure they grow into healthy adults and protect them from illness and disease. Early childhood is the ideal time for children to develop and practice healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Childhood feeding can present some challenges for many parents but it does not have to be overwhelming. We have a range of programs that can help to support parents to feed their children well. 

The PICNIC program is for parents of 0 to 2 year-olds. It aims to provide parents with the knowledge and skills in establishing positive feeding practices as they transition to solids and beyond. Establishing positive feeding practices can help to keep children healthy as they grow providing them with the best start to life. 

The Munch & Move program is a NSW Health initiative that helps to support the healthy development of children birth to 5 years who attend early childhood education and care services. The program offers training and support to educators and provides helpful information for families to extend active play and healthy eating at home. 

Cooks in care provides information and support for children in childcare. Cooks in care provides access to evidence-based guidelines and information to prepare healthy, nutritious food for children attending childcare services. 

Life Life Well @ School is a school-based program that promotes healthy eating and physical activity for children in years K-6. It enhances teachers’ knowledge, skills and confidence in teaching nutrition and physical activity.

Schools are an ideal setting for establishing healthy behaviours. Providing healthy meals and snacks for children to eat at school can:

  • provide their bodies with the nutrients they need to grow and develop
  • give them the energy they need to learn and to play
  • help them to focus in the classroom
  • help to establish healthy habits to last a lifetime.

Crunch & Sip encourages children to eat fruit and vegetables. Given that only 5% of NSW children eat the recommended number of vegetable serves per day, this program helps to increase opportunities to eat fruit and vegetables with their friends. 

The NSW healthy school canteen strategy provides a guide for school canteens to supply healthier food and drinks sold in the canteen. Training and support is available to canteen managers, staff and volunteers to establish healthier menu options in the canteen. 

Go4fun is a free program to help children become fitter, healthier and happier. It supports healthy lifestyle changes for children and their families, providing interactive and informative sessions for children aged 7 to 13 years. Go4Fun is an effective referral option for health professionals working with children on the Mid North Coast. 

Pre-teens and teens need a good variety of food from the 5 healthy food groups to provide them with the many nutrients needed for healthy growth and development.  How much food your teen will need depends on their body size and activity levels but generally their appetite will grow during adolescence.

Having a good range of healthy foods on offer will help to fill their body’s needs and keep them satisfied. Keeping our teens active and healthy can help in many areas of their life. Maintaining a healthy diet throughout the teenage years can help to:

  • provide your teenager with the nutrients they need to support their growth and development
  • fuel their brain for active learning and may improve learning outcomes
  • reduce risk of chronic illness and disease into adulthood
  • improve their mood
  • improve memory 
  • increase strength of bones and teeth
  • improved sleep patterns.

Keeping track of children’s development can help identify if there’s a need for some help from a health professional. It is common for children to be weighed and measured by various health professionals as part of a health assessment.

If you have any concerns, it’s best to speak to your GP or health professional who will be able to talk to you about your child’s needs and provide referral options if necessary. 

Do you need some recipe ideas to add to your menu’s? 

The Healthy Eating Active Living NSW website has a number of resources to help your family. Gain access to a number of family-friendly recipes or try a meal planner to help you get organised.

 

 

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