Sample two-week menus for long day care

Early childhood services

Use these sample menus as a guide for developing a healthy menu for children which tastes great and meets their nutrition needs.

Two white plates with fruit skewers

These menus are based on the Menu planning guidelines for long day care (1).

The meals featured in the sample menu (for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) provide children in long day care who are over the age of one year with all the foods and drinks they need to meet their nutritional needs.

Key information about the sample menu

Each two-week menu cycle includes at least:

  • 4 red meat meals
  • 2 pork or poultry meals
  • 2 fish meals
  • 1 vegetarian meal

Each day provides a child with

  • 1 children’s serve of fruit (2)
  • 1–1½ children’s serves of vegetables and legumes/beans (3)
  • 1 children’s serve of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts (if allowed) (4)
  • 2 children’s serves of milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives (5)
  • 2 children’s serves of grain (cereal) foods (6)

For information about children’s serving sizes, please refer to the Menu planning guidelines for long day care.

The menu does not include any of the following discretionary foods or drinks:

  • Chocolate, confectionery, jelly
  • Sweet biscuits, high fat/salt savoury biscuits, chips
  • Cream, ice cream
  • Deep fried foods (e.g. hot chips) and pastry based foods (pies, sausage rolls, pinwheels and pasties)
  • Most fast food and takeaway foods
  • Some processed meats, (e.g. sausages, frankfurts/hot dogs, salami, Strasbourg, Devon, some commercial chicken nuggets and fish fingers)
  • Soft drinks, fruit juice and fruit drinks, cordial, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavoured milk and flavoured mineral water

The menu is varied and considers special dietary needs

  • Infants over the age of 6 months are provided with iron rich foods, and meals and snacks of progressing texture according to their age.
  • Children with allergies are provided with appropriate substitutes of foods and drinks, in line with the Menu planning guidelines.
  • The menu includes a variety of meals from different cultures and a variety of tastes, colours, textures and flavours.
  • Main meals are not repeated in the two-week menu cycle and the main ingredient in a meal is not repeated on the same day each week.

Additional important information

  • This sample menu should be used as a guide. If you would like to adapt this sample menu for your service, please use the Menu planning guidelines to ensure you provide adequate serving sizes for each child.
  • The recipes in bold in our sample menus can be found on our Healthy Eating Advisory Service website for you to try.


  1. Menu planning guidelines for long day care, Healthy Eating Advisory Service, Department of Health and Human Services, State Government of Victoria, 2013,
  2. One children’s serve of fruit is equal to half a serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
  3. One children’s serve of vegetables and legumes/beans is equal to one serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
  4. One children’s serve of lean meat, poultry, fish or alternatives is equal to half a serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
  5. One children’s serve of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives is equal to just under half a serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
  6. One children’s serve of grain (cereal) foods is equal to one serve in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

For more information please phone 1300 22 52 88 or email

Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this document show models and illustrative settings only, and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services. This document may contain images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this document, ‘Aboriginal’ refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Koori/Koorie’ is retained when part of the title of a report, program or quotation. Copyright © State of Victoria 2016

Written and reviewed by dietitians and nutritionists at Nutrition Australia, with support from the Victorian Government.

Nutrition Australia and Victoria State Government logos

Want to assess your menu?

FoodChecker - opens in a new tab