Healthy Meals, Prepared Fresh Daily at Papilio


Meet Our Centre Cook

Each day, our creative and innovative Centre Cooks prepare a wide variety of nutritious meals and purees for the children and babies in our centres.

Each meal is healthy and delicious, and aligned with children's daily nutritional needs. They also ensure any individual cultural or dietary requirements are being met too.

Our Centre Cooks are committed to making healthy habits fun. They love to take time to involve the children in meal preparation and healthy food education, plus they hold regular cooking classes!

Note: A small number of our centres do not provide meals, however the Centre Manager will let you know when you meet the team prior to enrolment.

Healthy Menu | Information For Families | Papilio Early Learning

"Early life nutrition is crucial for brain development, supporting critical processes such as cell proliferation, neurotransmitter metabolism, and synaptic plasticity, which influence both immediate cognitive abilities and long-term mental health outcomes."

Cambridge University Press, 2022

On The Menu

Every season we release an exciting new six week menu which includes nutritionally balanced meals that meet each food group recommendation. The menu features in season fruits and vegetables, as well as proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats, essential for growing bodies and minds. You can see the menu your centre is offering displayed on the wall at the centre. Below is what an sample menu looks like.

Week 1 Healthy Food Winter Menu Roll-Out.pdf

This season, you will notice our menu features lots of fresh seasonal fruit, including oranges. Oranges are excellent for young children due to their high nutritional value and numerous health benefits. They are rich in Vitamin C, which is crucial for strengthening the immune system, helping children fight off colds and infections. They also contain lots of fibre to support digestion and regulate blood sugar, beneficial to maintaining energy levels. Oranges also have a high water content, helping to keep children hydrated, which is especially important during active play.


A Recipe to Try at Home

Apple Jaffles (Instagram Post) (1)

Apple Jaffles


  • 200g canned pie apples
  • 1 tbs sultanas
  • 80g low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 slices sultana bread
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


  1. Put apple, ricotta cheese, cinnamon, and sultanas in bowl and mix well.
  2. Place slices of bread in sandwich maker, top with apple mixture and cover with another slice of bread. Toast until golden brown.
  3. Allow to cool and serve.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

Early childhood is a period of rapid growth and development, making a balanced diet essential for children under 5 years of age. Proper nutrition during these formative years sets the foundation for lifelong health, cognitive development, and overall well-being. Here’s why a balanced diet is so crucial for young children:

1. Supports Rapid Growth

During the first five years, children experience significant physical growth. A balanced diet provides the necessary nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals that support the development of muscles, bones, and organs. According to the Raising Children Network, young children need a variety of foods to meet their energy and nutrient needs for healthy growth.

2. Cognitive Development

Nutritional intake significantly impacts brain development. Essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and zinc are vital for cognitive functions, memory, and learning abilities. The Australian Government Department of Health highlights that deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to developmental delays and cognitive impairments.

3. Boosts Immune System

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains enhances the immune system, protecting children from common illnesses and infections. Vitamins such as A, C, and E, along with minerals like zinc, play critical roles in maintaining a strong immune response, as noted by the Better Health Channel.

4. Energy and Activity

Young children are incredibly active and need a consistent supply of energy to fuel their daily activities. Carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats provide the energy necessary for play, learning, and growth. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) emphasises the importance of balanced meals to keep children energized and focused.

5. Healthy Eating Habits

Introducing a variety of healthy foods early on helps establish lifelong healthy eating habits. Encouraging children to eat a diverse range of foods ensures they receive all the essential nutrients and reduces the risk of picky eating and dietary deficiencies. The Dietitians Association of Australia supports the idea that early exposure to a wide variety of healthy foods can lead to better eating habits in the future.

6. Prevents Chronic Diseases

Proper nutrition in early childhood can prevent the onset of chronic diseases later in life. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provides evidence that good nutrition in early years can have long-term health benefits.

Practical Tips for Parents

  • Offer a variety of foods: Include different types of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains in your child’s diet.
  • Limit sugary and processed foods: Reduce the intake of sugary snacks and beverages, and avoid processed foods high in unhealthy fats and sugars.
  • Encourage regular meals and snacks: Provide regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks to ensure a steady intake of nutrients.

Healthy Meals at Papilio

A balanced diet is fundamental for the healthy growth and development of children under 5. At Papilio Early Learning, we prioritise providing a diet rich in essential nutrients to support optimal growth and cognitive development. This will lay a strong foundation for your child's future health, learning, and wellbeing.

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