Fact sheet: Healthy eating: 5-8 years

From the Centre for Community Child Health

You can help your child to make the best choice when it comes to school lunches and set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

Young boy eating a slice of watermelon.

Help your child learn about healthy eating

  • Eat foods from the five food groups every day, especially the first three:
    1. Vegetables
    2. Fruit
    3. Grain foods- mostly wholegrain
    4. Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives
    5. Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Grow food together in a veggie path, or herbs in a windowsill box. No space? Join a community garden!
  • Prepare food together - Dietitians Australia has yummy, healthy recipes
  • Find your closest farmers' market and chat with experts about where food comes from.

Making healthy food choices

Encouraging your child to make healthy food choices when it comes to their school lunchbox can be the first step on the path to learning to make the best food choices for life.

A 'traffic light' system can be a great aid for packing your child's lunchbox.

  • Things your child can have every day can be stored in a green container:
    • low-fat milk drinks, wholegrain breads, cereals, fruits, veggies and lean meats.
  • In a yellow container go things that your child can have sometimes:
    • baked snack biscuits, full-fat milk drinks, and processed and cured meats.
  • Finally, a red container can be for occasional treats:
    • lollies, cakes, and deep-fried foods.

Traffic lights give simple guidance for you and your child about always, sometimes and occasional foods - and help kids to make informed choices about what goes in their lunchboxes.

More information

You will find more helpful information on the Raising Children Network and the Australian Dietary Guidelines. If more help is needed, please consult your family doctor or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

  • Healthy eating: 5-8 years

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