Helping you to plan nourishing menus for the children in your care
Infancy and early childhood is an important time for focusing on nutrition and obesity prevention strategies, as food preferences and eating habits are established during this time and are often retained into adulthood. The early childhood education and care setting provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to a wide range of nourishing foods and to limit their intake of discretionary foods.
Central Coast Local Health District’s Nutrition Service works with Central Coast Health Promotion Service to support our local early childhood services to ensure their menus meet the nutritional needs of the children in their care. We offer menu planning resources, menu review services, and training opportunities. We also provide regular, ongoing support through our Cooks Network meetings, Cooks Corner e-newsletter, Ask the Dietitian service and local childcare recipe bank.
Healthy menu support
Caring for children menu planning guides
The NSW Health Caring for Children guides provide menu planning information and checklists to help you plan a menu that meets the nutritional needs of the children in your care.
Submit your menu for an annual review
Our dietitians can assess your menu to see if it meets the Caring for Children guidelines. Menus that meet the guidelines will receive documentation that can be used to show parents, accreditors and the wider community.
Subscribe to Cooks Corner e-newsletter
Our regular Cooks Corner e-newsletter provides information on the latest menu planning news, upcoming events and highlights recent successful menu reviews.
Ask the Dietitian
Got a childcare menu-related nutrition question? Submit your question and one of our dietitians will respond.
Find help and inspiration
Here are some additional free resources to support you in planning and serving a menu that meets the Caring for Children guidelines.
Healthy early childhood recipes
Cook of the Year Award
The Central Coast Cooks Network Cook of the Year award has been developed to recognise our exceptional early childcare cooks.
Congratulations to Corrina Beal from Umina Childcare Centre for winning our inaugural Cook of the Year Award in 2023.
It was a close competition with five cooks who had outstanding menus in the final round, but Corrina’s explanation of how her Centre links the menu to learning activities helped her leap to the front of the field!
Who is eligible?
Any cook whose early childcare menu has been awarded a Central Coast Local Health District Healthy Menu Award over the current year.
Stay tuned for updates on the 2024 award and make sure you submit your menu for a review between 1 November 2023 and 31 October 2024. If you meet all the Caring for Children guidelines, you will be eligible to enter.