99% of Australian children are not eating enough vegetables, and a quarter are overweight or obese.

For the average Aussie child, this means they're about 25 times more likely to be overweight or obese than to be eating the recommended intake of vegetables.

This is a major issue as poor diet, in particular inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, is a risk factor for health problems such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease and weight gain and obesity. Poor diet can also leave children malnourished and unable to develop at a normal rate.

What Australian Children Are Eating

The last comprehensive analysis of diet in Australian children occurred in the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey conducted in 2011-2013. Across the five recommended food groups, the Survey found that:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans: Children and adolescents did not meet the recommendations
  • Fruit: Children aged 2 to 8 did meet the recommendations, while those aged 9 to 18 did not
  • Grains: Only boys aged 4 to 11 and girls aged 9 to 11 met the recommendations
  • Lean meats and alternatives: The majority of children did not meet the recommendations
  • Dairy products and alternatives: Only children aged 2 to 3 met the recommendation.

"Between the ages of 2-18, more than 99% of the population does not meet the recommended number of serves of vegetables."

The Survey also found children were obtaining around 30-40% of their energy intake from discretionary foods like junk food, that are high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars and/or added salt.

With statistics like these and obesity rates continuing to rise, it is clear that the vast majority of Australian children need to be eating more healthy food, more often.

What Should Children be Eating?

Depending on their age, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend your children eat the following serves of the five food groups daily:

 

Veg.

Fruit

Grains

Meat

Dairy

2 to 3 years
1
4
1
4 to 8 years
4
1 ½
½-2
9 to 11 years
5
2
4-5
2½-3
12 to 13 years
5-5½
2
5-6
14 to 18 years
5-5½
2
7

Some examples of one serve of each food group include:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans: ½ cup of cooked greens or beans, ½ cooked medium potato
  • Fruit: 1 apple, banana or orange
  • Grains: 1 slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • Lean meats and alternatives: 65g cooked beef, 80g cooked chicken, 100g cooked fish, 1 cup of cooked lentils
  • Dairy products and alternatives: 1 cup of fresh milk or soy drink, 2 slices of hard cheese, ¾ cup of yoghurt.

    How to Help Your Children Eat Healthier Food

    We all want our kids consuming a healthy balanced diet but the truth is that it's easier said than done, as backed up the statistics. Whether it's down to a lack of time or planning or it's a matter of taste, clearly a lot of families find it difficult to comply with the Australian Dietary Guidelines for their children.

    The Dietitians Association of Australia has some useful tips to help parents and carers improve their children's diets, such as serving fruit skewers with yoghurt, fresh veggies with salsa dip, or growing a family veggie garden, which is a great way to help kids better understand food and where it comes from.

    At Go! Kidz, our approach has been to reimagine favourite children’s meals such as chicken nuggets, cottage pie, mac n cheese, lasagne and meatballs and pasta bolognese to find the ultimate balance of maximum nutrition and taste. Developed with the help of Skye Swaney, formerly Senior Dietitian at Australia’s Healthy Kids Association, every one of our all-natural kids' meals has a 3½ to 4½ health star rating and contains up to 3 serves of vegetables.

    Best of all, our 15+ meals are a big hit with even the most fussy eaters, helping busy Sydney parents provide their kids with highly nutritious food that's ready in a flash. Portion sizes are available from toddlers to teens and are sized to Healthy Kids Association standards. If you have any questions about our meals or how they're made, let us know.



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