Recommended dietary intake

The National Health and Medical Research Council have developed the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI), which can guide us in the appropriate amounts of nutrients that we need to eat each day. You can often find this information on food products you buy from the supermarket.

Energy requirements have also been developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council which state recommended energy intakes depending on a person’s height, weight and activity level.

Take a quick lesson in reading the labels on food products by going to, selecting Food Matters and then Food labelling then Interactive label poster.

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On the internet or at the library, research the dietary requirements for the following groups:

  • babies
  • toddlers
  • school aged children.

Record your findings in your notebook.

Why do you think it is especially important for children to have a balanced diet?

young child playing on climbing equipment

Did you say because they are still growing? That's correct.

It's also important for young children to develop healthy eating habits as this will help them grow strong and healthy. All those nutrients we mentioned are essential for growing bodies and brains.

Children also need to understand what foods are good for them as this will influence the kinds of choices they make when they are older and the attitude they have towards food and meal times.


An unbalanced diet can lead to many health problems such as obesity and even diabetes. Eating a variety of good food means children will have the energy to play, learn and grow.

Good food is like fuel for the body and the brain. Optimum development of a child can occur more easily when they enjoy a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. Adults also feel much better if they eat a balanced diet.


Think about what you ate yesterday: did it include all the food groups, and a healthy balance of them?

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Plan your meals for tomorrow, from breakfast through to dinner. Include all the food groups in the right proportions.

Write them down and identify all the nutrients that you will consume in your notebook.