Menu planning for long day care

The National Quality Standard (NQS) requires early childhood education and care services to provide nutritious and varied menus that also meet the cultural, health and religious needs of each child. However, details about the types and amounts of food and drinks to be included on the daily menu to meet this requirement are not provided within the NQS.

Victorian services are recommended to use the Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s (HEAS) Menu planning guidelines for long day care when developing menus. These guidelines can help you plan menus that meet the NQS and align with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

You can also use FoodChecker to develop menus according to the HEAS Menu planning guidelines for long day care and get tailored nutrition advice for your service. Find out more.

 

Menu planning guidelines for long day care

Menu planning guidelines for long day care (Victoria)
These guidelines outline criteria for main meals, morning tea, afternoon tea and drinks, to plan a menu for children aged 1–5 years old. Includes the Menu planning checklist for long day care (below) and an explanation of serving sizes.

Menu planning checklist for long day care (Victoria)
Summarises the Menu planning guidelines for long day care (above) into a checklist that you can use when planning or reviewing your long day care centre’s menu.

 

Sample menus

Get some inspiration to plan your next healthy menu. These examples meet the Victorian Menu planning guidelines for long day care:

Sample two-week menus (winter and summer)
Two sample two-week menus based on the Menu planning guidelines for long day care, with explanations on how they meet the guidelines.

Hawthorn Early Years
Hawthorn Early Years provides a tasty and varied menu that meets the Menu planning guidelines for long day care.

 

Menu planning resources

Menu assessments (FoodChecker)
Use FoodChecker to plan healthy menus according to the Victorian Menu planning guidelines for long day care, and get tailored nutrition advice for your service.

NOTE: Victorian long day care services that are registered with the Achievement Program and/or Smiles 4 Miles must provide a HEAS FoodChecker menu assessment report which confirms that the menu meets the Victorian guidelines.

What’s in a serve?
Explains appropriate serving sizes for children aged 1–5 and provides examples of common foods in each of the core food groups.

Ingredient quantity guide for long day care menus
Plan a long day care menu that support children’s nutrition needs and reduce food wastage with these handy tables:

How to plan a menu for long day care
A step-by-step guide to planning a two-week menu that meets the Victorian Menu planning guidelines for long day care. Includes a blank menu template

What to leave off the menu
Learn about 'discretionary' foods and drinks, and get some healthier suggestions for special occasions.

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