What's in a serve?

This table outlines the amount of food from each core food group required to meet the nutrition needs of children in long day care.

A children’s serve refers to the portion of food appropriate for children aged 1–5 years. To be practical in the childcare setting, these serve sizes have been adapted from the serve sizes in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Food group Minimum amount per day in care Minimum children’s serve per day in care

Examples of 1 children’s serve

Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts 50g raw meat/poultry or equivalent 1 children’s serve

One children’s serve of lean meat, poultry, fish or alternatives is equal to half a serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is equivalent to:

  • 50g raw lean red meat (e.g. beef, lamb, kangaroo), lean pork or poultry without the bone
  • 30g lean cooked red meat
  • 40g cooked chicken (skin off)
  • 60g raw fish or 50g canned or cooked fish
  • 35g dry weight beans or legumes or 85g (½ cup) cooked or canned beans or legumes (drained)
  • 15g peanut butter or nuts (if centre policy allows)
  • 1 egg
  • 20g dry weight Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • 85g tofu
  • 60g hummus
Fruit 75g fruit 1 children's serve

One children’s serve of fruit is equal to half a serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is equivalent to:

  • 75g fresh fruit* (1 small piece, ½ medium piece or equivalent amount of 2–3 types)
  • 75g (½ cup) diced, cooked or canned fruit (drained)
  • 15g dried fruit*#
Vegetables and legumes 75–100g vegetables or legumes 1–1½ children’s serves

One children’s serve of vegetables and legumes/beans is equal to one serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is equivalent to:

  • 75g fresh, frozen, canned (drained) or cooked vegetables* (½ cup cooked, 1 cup salad, 1/2 medium potato)
  • 30g dry weight beans or legumes or 75g (½ cup) cooked or canned beans or legumes (drained)
Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives 200mL milk or equivalent 2 children’s serves

One children’s serve of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives is equal to just under half a serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is equivalent to:

  • 100mL milk/calcium fortified soy or rice drink
  • 50mL evaporated milk
  • 15g milk powder
  • 100mL custard
  • 80g yoghurt/calcium fortified soy yoghurt
  • 15g hard cheese (1 slice), 50g ricotta cheese
Grain (cereal) foods 2 slices bread or equivalent 2 children’s serves

One children’s serve of grain (cereal) foods is equal to one serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is equivalent to:

  • 40g bread (1 slice, ½ medium roll or flatbread)
  • 1 crumpet or small English muffin
  • 30g breakfast cereal (⅔ cup), 2 Weetbix™ or similar, ¼ cup muesli or porridge
  • 30g dry weight rice, pasta, noodles, couscous, barley, buckwheat, semolina, cornmeal, quinoa, polenta (½ cup cooked)
  • 30g flour (¼ cup)
  • 35g crispbread (3–4 cracker biscuits or crispbread, 3 thick rice cakes, 6 thin rice cakes or corn thins, 12 plain rice crackers)

*  Some hard fruit and vegetables may need to be cooked, mashed, grated, pureed or very finely sliced.

#  Dried fruit leaves a sticky residue on teeth and can contribute to tooth decay. If included on the menu it should only be offered once per week.