Healthy Eating Guidelines

Guidelines and recommendations from the Get Up & Grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood resources.

Page last updated: 16 July 2010

Healthy eating guideline 1: Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended, with positive support, for babies up to six months. Continued breastfeeding is recommended for at least 12 months – and longer if the mother and baby wish.

Healthy eating guideline 2: If an infant is not breastfed, is partially breastfed, or if breastfeeding is discontinued, use an infant formula until 12 months of age.

Healthy eating guideline 3: Introduce suitable solids at around six months.

Healthy eating guideline 4: Make sure that food offered to children is appropriate to the child’s age and development, and includes a wide variety of nutritious foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia.

Healthy eating guideline 5: Provide water in addition to age-appropriate milk drinks. Infants under the age of six months who are not exclusively breastfed can be offered cooled boiled water in addition to infant formula.

Healthy eating guideline 6: Plan mealtimes to be positive, relaxed and social.

Healthy eating guideline 7: Encourage children to try different food types and textures in a positive eating environment.

Healthy eating guideline 8: Offer an appropriate amount of food, but allow children to decide themselves how much they will actually eat.

Healthy eating guideline 9: Offer meals and snacks at regular and predictable intervals.

Healthy eating guideline 10: Ensure that food is safely prepared for children to eat – from the preparation stages to consumption.

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Physical Activity Recommendations

Recommendation: For healthy development in infants (birth to 1 year), physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.

Recommendation: Toddlers (1 to 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.

Recommendation: Children younger than two years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).

Recommendation: For children two to five years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.

Recommendation: Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should not be sedentary, restrained or kept inactive for more than one hour at a time – with the exception of sleeping.