'I'm a dietitian. These are 5 questions I constantly get asked about kids’ nutrition.'

Thanks to our brand partner, Yoplait

Feeding kids while balancing what they actually enjoy and their evolving tastes is... a daily journey.

All school parents will know, creating a (nutritional) masterpiece can be risky, especially if your best efforts go uneaten. 

And, to be honest, the worst thing you can do is Google for advice. 

Actually scrap that! The worst thing you can do is post a question in a Facebook group, unless you want a large serving of judgement. 

Wherever you’re looking, when it comes to kids' nutrition there’s a lot of information and even more unqualified opinions to wade through. Thankfully, Jennifer Arguelles is here to help us out. 

As an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Nutrition Insights Manager at Bega Foods, and mum of three, Jennifer helps other parents navigate nutrition every day.

From concerns about “too much fruit” to “I've run out of snack ideas”, here are the 5 questions she’s always asked by parents. And of course, her super practical answers.

What’s in your kids’ lunchboxes?

Parents always want to know what Jennifer feeds her three primary school-aged children. After all, she does create a mean lunchbox. 

While she says each of her children have their own (constantly changing) preferences, she does have a quick cheat sheet that parents can steal. 

  1. A grain/cereal – for example, sourdough rolls, multigrain sandwiches, wraps, leftover fried rice, pasta salad or sushi rolls.

  2. Meat/meat alternative – this can be last night’s leftover roast chicken, shredded into a bread roll, eggs, or her kids’ favourite, tuna in their sandwich.

  3. Dairy – either cheese in their sandwich or on top of pasta. Or, try a pouch of yoghurt, like Yoplait YOP pouches which is a good sized serving for primary school-aged kids.

  4. Fruit – keep it seasonal, so for summer they're eating delicious berries, chopped melon and stone fruits.

  5. Vegetables – Put them in their sandwiches/rolls, a salad cup, veggie sticks with dip, or even a small container of baked beans works a treat. 

  6. Finish strong with water as their drink.

Importantly, Jennifer says she won’t stress if it doesn’t all get eaten. “My kids don’t always eat what I give them, and that might be because they’re too busy playing or they don’t like bananas that week, and that’s okay.”


Her top tip – keep adding new varieties into your kids' rotation. "Kids can quickly get sick of certain foods, and trying different things is a good way to discover new favourites.”

Image: Supplied. 

Should I let my kids snack? 

Parents with younger primary school children often ask this question, worried they’re indulging unhealthy patterns. 

“Their appetite might fluctuate, depending on their activity level and during certain developmental stages. So, there may be times where they want to snack more often," Jennifer says. 


“Parents and carers should offer regular meals and snacks (three main meals and two snacks should be adequate), the child’s role is to decide whether to eat and how much to eat.”

Jennifer’s go-to snack? Yoghurt pouches. “My kids are loving Yoplait’s YOP flavoured yoghurt pouches."

As a mum, she loves them because they’re convenient. They're also a nutritious treat to have on the go or before extracurricular activities like dance classes. And, as a dietitian, she knows they contain eight essential nutrients naturally found in dairy, which include protein and calcium.”

Yoplait YOP pouches comes in a range of tasty flavours like Strawberry Jam Donut and Choc Banana –but don’t let these names deceive you. They’re made from real fruit with nothing artificial and they have a Health Star Rating of 4, making them a fun snack that can be enjoyed every day as part of their daily dairy intake.

“As they are dairy, they contain essential nutrients naturally found in milk, such as potassium, iodine, phosphorus, vitamins B2, B5, B12,” Jennifer says. 

A bonus hack from the kids lunchbox queen, “I put them frozen in their lunchbox to keep the rest of their lunch cool.”

How do I get my kid to eat more vegetables?

According to the ABS, only 6 per cent of Australian children aged between 2-17 eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, so Jennifer advises parents to think of each meal and snack as an opportunity to get more veggies in.


Here’s how to realistically make that happen for every meal, plus snacks. 

  • At breakfast, toast can be topped with baked beans, omelettes can be loaded with onion, tomato, baby spinach and mushrooms. For a rainbow twist on breakfast, try a veggie pancake, with cabbage, spring onion and carrots.

  • For lunch, give sandwiches a veggie boost with grated carrot, lettuce, capsicum, and cucumber. Make a salad with leftover roasted veggies, pasta, couscous or corn. Or, try veggie-packed savoury muffins or zucchini slice.

  • When it’s snack time, try veggie sticks with dip, corn on the cob, veggie pizza, snacking “baby” vegetables, or even toasted sweet potato.

  • For dinner, try including a side serve of vegetables and add extra grated veggies or lentils to sauces.

My child only eats five foods, how can I get them to have more?

If you’re struggling to get your kids to eat certain foods, Jennifer has a few tips for fussy eaters. 

  • Build familiarity – this can be done by offering the same new food, numerous times. “It can take 10 or more times of trying a new food before a child begins to like it. It’s perfectly normal for your child to just touch and play with a food to start with.”

  • Get your children involved in shopping and preparing food. Even better if you can get them involved in growing veggies!

  • Let them try the same food, prepared in different ways. For example, raw carrots in salad one day, and steamed honeyed carrots the next.

  • Introduce new foods along with the familiar and liked foods. 

  • Where you can, eat meals together to help model mealtime behaviour and encourage your child to eat foods that everyone else is enjoying.

Jennifer’s most important takeaway is keep mealtimes fun and relaxed. There’s always tomorrow to try again.

Is there such a thing as too much fruit?  

This question normally comes from parents who are worried about the sugar content in fruit. 

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend children have 1½ to 2 serves of fruit per day (this can vary depending on things like their age). One serve is equivalent to a medium piece of fruit, a cup of diced fruit and occasionally ½ cup of fruit juice. 

“Having one or two serves of fruit more than the recommendations is unlikely to do harm, as long as they’re also eating from the other core food groups, like vegetables, dairy foods, meat and meat alternatives, and wholegrains."

Have you got a question about children's nutrition or a tip for mastering school lunchboxes? Let us know in the comments below.

YOP Pouches are a handy snack for kids on the go. Get your hands on the delicious Jam Donut and Choc Banana flavour at your nearest Coles. 

All content in this article is intended as a guide to be used only for general information purposes. It is important to seek individualised advice from an accredited practitioner to work out the approach which is best for your child.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

That’s why YOP is the perfect snack for kids on the go. Made with real fruit and nothing artificial. It’s packed with dairy goodness and offers a great source of calcium for growing bones. Each YOP also contains 8 essential nutrients* plus probiotics for a healthy stomach. People forget the benefits of yoghurt as a snack between mealtimes. It’s filling but not too heavy. It’s easily digestible so you can get active immediately without heavy food weighing you down. As an added bonus, you can practically drink a YOP with one hand and still swing a tennis racquet.