AIM – To build good eating habits in children and to provide a balanced diet of good wholesome food taking into account the needs of each individual child and the RDI set by the relevant regulations.

This centre will provide children in long day care with at least 50% of their daily recommended dietary intake of nutrients in the form of safe and appetising foods from the five food groups. ie. Bread/ Cereal-Meat and Meat Alternatives- Fruit/ Vegetables- Fats/ Oils.


  1. Milk will be served daily, with low fat milk served to our 3-5 year olds.
  2. All dairy products will be full cream and only soy milks that are fortified with calcium will be used as a substitute for cow's milk.
  3. Menus will be planned using the nutrition checklist and department of health guidelines. At least one week of menus will be on display in the foyers for information for parents and staff.
  4. Drinking water will be available at all times for all age groups of children. We will offer water to drink in preference to fruit juices.
  5. Children are able to have access to snacks if they are hungry between meals.
  6. If children have not eaten their main meal, they may still receive second course.
  7. Parents will be advised when the child is not eating well.
  8. When the children are on special diets the parents will be asked to provide a copy of the diet from the dietitian.
  9. Children will wash their hands before handling food or eating nutritious meals.
  10. Food will be stored and served at safe temperatures – with check recorded daily.
  11. Staff will adhere to good hygiene practices when handling food eg. wear gloves, use tongs, wash hands, hair tied back.
  12. Children will not share food, plates, utensils or cups.
  13. Meals are prepared by appropriately qualified cooks. All necessary hygienic precautions are taken in the provision of the meals.
  14. The menu will reflect the children's cultural backgrounds.

Staff members will sit with the children at meal times and eat the same food. Food will not be used as a form of punishment whether by it's provision or denial. Engadine Gumnuts provides utensils & furniture that is age appropriate in shape & size which encourages independent eating skills.

Special occasions may be celebrated with culturally appropriate foods. Parents are encouraged to help develop the children’s knowledge of foods eaten by different cultures by sharing the traditions of their food and by joining in festival days and sharing favourite recipes for food tasting.

All staff involved in any form of food preparation will attend a Safe food handling Course. Parents input into our menu planning is encouraged through the enrolment form and the July newsletter and is appreciated at any other time during the year.


Children can depend on our centre for a large part of their nutrition each day, and we therefore support the healthy development of infants in our care by adopting the recommended infant feeding practices.


  1. Breastfeeding is recommended until 6 months. Gumnuts support and encourages breastfeeding up until 12 months of age.
  2. Formula is to be given up to 12 months of age, if the infant is not receiving breastmilk.
  3. Water can be introduced into the diet of a 6 month old. Tap water is best, introduced in a cup.
  4. Birth to 6 months – Demand-fed, do not require extra fluids.
  5. 6-8 months old – Decrease the amount of fluid as the amount of food eaten increases.
  6. 8-12months old – Give fluids after food.
  7. 12 months and on - Full cream milk may replace breastmilk/formula, using a cup, not a bottle.
  8. Drinks NOT recommended before 12 months of age include: cows milk, soy drink, rice drinks, goats milk etc.
  9. Fruit juices are not needed by infants.
  10. Store bottles in the coldest part of the fridge at the back, not in the door.


  • 6 months - Solid are to be introduced, soft and easily digested first, including mashed vegetables, mashed fruits, well cooked rice or rice cereal.
  • NEXT: minced, stewed or grated meat, fish, legumes, pasta and bread.
  • 8 months – all fruits and vegetables, including salad; cereals, including breads, rice, pasta and noodles.
  • NEXT: try cheese, custard and yoghurt and cooked egg.
  • 12 months – children can have regular child care centre meals at this stage.
  • FOOD TEXTURES: 6-7 Months – Pureed texture, 7-9 months – finely mashed to mashed with small lumps, 9-12 months – coarsely mashed foods with lumps.
  • To help infants develop, it is essential to change the texture of foods between 6 to 12 months of age.


Food intolerances are caused by the irritant effects of certain food substances. These can be natural food components, or they can be additives. Unlike allergies, food intolerances are rarely serious or life threatening.

Symptoms: irritable, hyperactive or erratic behaviour; sleep disturbance; upset stomach; loose motions; feeling sick; skin rashes; blocked nose; and fussy eating.

There is no single “right” diet for children with food intolerances. Once a child’s intolerances are correctly identified, management involves a reduction in daily intake of the offending chemicals. Specific dietary change may be simple, or they may involve extensive modification of the child’s entire diet.

Staff responsibilities:

  1. Know which children are at risk through room/kitchen charts
  2. Take notes from specialist and place on file
  3. Only offer the child food that has been checked, approved by the parents and cook
  4. Cook to document all foods consumed by the child daily via a diary for the parents


The most common foods that can cause allergies are: peanuts and other nuts; egg; milk; fish; sesame; wheat and soy. Food allergies need to be taken seriously, even in children with a mild reaction.

Typical Symptoms: rapidly spreading welts; swelling; breathing difficulties; and in extreme cases, allergic shock and collapse.

Implementation: If a child enrolled at Gumnuts has been diagnosed with a food allergy the following steps will be taken:

  • Parents to bring in a specialist letter or certificate documenting which food the child is allergic to.
  • A poster with the child’s photograph and emergency treatment instructions to be displayed for all staff, after obtaining written consent by parents.
  • Staff/families to be made aware of the serious consequences of this allergy in the centre.
  • The cook to work with the parents to provide substitutes to maintain good nutrition.
  • Cook to be aware of the possibilities of cross contamination in the kitchen and eating area by complete avoidance of the specific food.
  • Cook to read all labels for all ingredients used in recipes.
  • The child will be highly supervised during meal times.
  • The child will only be given food and drinks that have been labelled, checked and approved by the parents/cook.
  • Special treats for Birthdays etc need to be supplied by the parents.


Parents will be consulted regarding children’s nutrition requirements and menus will be compiled taking into consideration children’s taste preferences and nutritional value.

Menus will be displayed weekly in each foyer for the daily nutrition supplied to the children. Menu’s will also be emailed to parents daily with our daily diary. An infant’s menu will be provided to parents once their child’s starts on solids at the centre, which will include purees, mash and lumpy food. This will include Morning nutrition, Lunch, Dessert, Afternoon nutrition and Late Afternoon nutrition. Breakfast is served from 7.30am- 8.00am, nut free cereal and toast with a variety of toppings. We will offer water to drink in preference to fruit juices. Gumnut’s provides a system in the sign in folder which allows parent to view their child’s eating habits throughout the day. Staff provide nutrition education in programmed group time which discusses safe eating habits, understanding & handling eating behaviours, & food related activities. Parents are educated through our detailed monthly newsletters, containing Food Safety, handling and storage and Nutrition facts.

Drink: Milk
Toast and Cereal
Toast & cereal
Toast and Cereal
Toast and Cereal
Toast & Cereal
Drink: Water
Fresh Fruit & Cheese
Fresh Fruit & Cheese
Fresh Fruit & Cheese
Fresh Fruit & Cheese
Fresh Fruit & Cheese
Drink: Water
Chicken / Vegetable
Macaroni Bake
Sausage Rolls and
Mexican Soft Tortillas
and Assorted Salad
San Cho Bow in lettuce
Zucchini and cheese
slice with tomatoes
2nd Course Custard with orange
Banana Yoghurt
Grapes and Cheese Strawberry and Pineapple frozen yoghurt Peach slices
Drink: Milk
Raisin Bread Wholemeal Wild
Berry Muffins
Rice Cakes with Spreads Edward Family Ginger Biscuits Lebanese Bread wraps with Milo Milk
Drink: Water
Fruit Fruit Fruit Fruit Fruit

“The menu you prepare each day is amazing. From the moment I step into Gumnuts in the morning I can see you preparation and dedication to ensuring the children are well fed and looked after. This in turn takes a huge burden from me trying to get out the door with three kids and not having to pack lunches and food is such a good feeling. I always try to get them to Gumnuts in time for your beautiful fruit platters.” Lisa P


In most cases the mother will leave Expressed Breastmilk (EBM) ready in bottles in the fridge. Fresh EBM can be kept safely in the fridge for up to 5 days. To warm cold EBM stand the bottle in a container of hot water (not boiling) until the EBM reaches body heat. Test how warm the milk is by dropping a little onto your wrist. It is right when it feels warm. Do not overheat or boil EBM as this can destroy some of the nutrients in breastmilk. Do not use a microwave oven to thaw or heat EBM.

Frozen EBM may be in a bottle, storage bag or other container. It can be warmed quickly, or thawed slowly in the fridge. Do not leave frozen EBM standing at room temperature. To thaw quickly, move the bottle or bag of frozen EBM about in a bowl of warm water. As the water cools, add a little hot water to the bowl and keep moving the EBM around until it all becomes liquid. You may need to put the EBM into a clean feeding container. It is a good idea to ask the mother when the baby is likely to need a feed and thaw the EBM before this time. Store thawed EBM in the fridge for no more than 4 hours and heat as for cold EBM.

EBM, like other food, can grow germs, particularly after freezing and thawing. Bottles, teats, spoons, cups or other feeding equipment need to be well washed in hot, soapy water and rinsed well (air-dry or dry with new paper towel if not being used straight away). Personal hygiene is also important. Wash your hands well before you start to prepare a feed.

Breastmilk should not be frozen or heated more than once. Offer small amounts of EBM at a time to the baby. If the baby is not hungry you will not have to throw out large amounts of EBM. If the baby needs more, prepare another small amount.