Adequate nutrition is essential for the active growth and development that takes place in early childhood. Having good eating habits and a balanced diet supports children’s health and wellbeing, and minimises the risk of illness. Eating habits developed in the early years are likely to have a lifelong influence.

Healthy eating in childhood minimises health risks and improves health throughout life. Many lifestyle diseases such as obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes can have their beginning in poor nutrition habits early in life.

The 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey identified that less than 25 per cent of young children eat the recommended number of serves of vegetables on a regular basis. There is considerable room for improvement in young children’s nutrition.

Experiences in early childhood settings can influence young children’s eating behaviours and nutritional intake. Work with parents and families to support and encourage healthy eating for children. Whether a setting provides meals and snacks for children or children bring them from home, there are many opportunities to encourage good eating habits.