Welcome to the final edition of the Healthy Eats Grapevine Newsletter for 2022.
This year has flown by, and we have enjoyed every minute of being back in classrooms and working with schools and young people toward better health and nutrition as part of the Healthy Eats program.
There has been such a great effort from the schools we have worked with this year to build inclusive and sustainable healthy school food environments for their communities, and we are so pleased to announce we have had two new schools achieve their Healthy Eats accreditation milestone this term.
Congratulations to St. Benedict’s Catholic School, Shaw and Loganholme State School on becoming Healthy Eats accredited! Great work by both schools.
What makes this achievement even more exciting for Loganholme State School is that they are the first Southeast Queensland school to reach this achievement. Well done!
This term we ran our I Made It! Competition for the first time. The competition encouraged families to re-create one of our Healthy Eats recipes with their own healthy twist. It was great to see so many families taking the time to get into the kitchen together and enter the competition. Our winner came from Port Douglas State School – well done Sascha!
This term, through the Life Ed Thrive Childrens Fund, our friends at Woolworths have been supporting our program by making fresh fruit deliveries to many of our North Qld schools. Community Development Officer, Megan was able to help with one such delivery to Cannonvale State School recently, and the kids loved their fresh fruit snacks.
Our final Grapevine is a bumper edition, packed with plenty of stories, so take your time to have a look through and see if your school’s Healthy Eats activity was featured.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for a great year. We hope that you can take some well-earned time out to relax and celebrate with friends and family this festive season and wish you a happy and healthy 2023.
CEO, Life Ed Queensland
In this edition:
Loganholme State School has become the first school in Southeast Queensland to achieve full Healthy Eats accreditation.
In just its first year of undertaking the program, Loganholme State School has transformed its school food environment by taking a community approach to encouraging and supporting healthy food choices.
Deputy-Principal Renee Child is delighted by the changes in the school but not surprised by the achievement.
“At Loganholme State School, all our staff truly want to make a difference in our school community. We want to educate our students not only in academics, but also in how to live a healthy life, so when we decided to join Healthy Eats, everyone was on-board and keen to bring it to life in our school.”
The school started with some key projects that would support and encourage students to make good food choices, such as reinvigorating the school veggie garden, creating a dedicated garden club, and evolving the school tuckshop menu, which really cemented the direction.
“Healthy Eats offered plenty of support with these projects and connected us with some great partners like the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) and Bunnings, who quickly came onboard and were keen to help us succeed.” said Renee.
The garden project has been a firm favourite with students across year levels, and the Garden Club now has a healthy membership, (led by Garden Coordinator and Year 1 teacher Danielle Bladen) who works to keep it flourishing.
“The students have loved the opportunity to be part of the garden project. We are never short of volunteers to help water, weed or harvest the produce,” said Garden Coordinator, Danielle Bladen.
The garden has been so successful it regularly supplies the tuckshop with a variety of fresh produce including snow peas, silverbeet, zucchini and herbs that make their way into school salads and other tuckshop recipes.
One of the biggest success stories from the program is the Loganholme tuckshop.
At the beginning of the program the tuckshop returned a 1-star rating in line with Education Queensland’s Smart Choices policy which meant the menu would require an overhaul.
Tuckshop convenors Lisa and Wendy were keen to work on improving the menu, so they worked closely with the school community, Healthy Eats and QAST to make sustainable changes.
Loganholme State School took a community consultation approach to rework their menu and invited families to provide ideas and feedback on the kinds of healthy items they would like to see on the menu.
The tuckshop also introduced ‘tasting days’ where students were invited to taste test new items that had been added to the tuckshop menu. These days were met with great enthusiasm from the students, and really helped inform what should be included.
In Term 4 the tuckshop menu was resubmitted for rating and returned a fantastic 5-star rating, well exceeding the minimum requirements to comply with Smart Choices – an outstanding result.
“The Healthy Eats program has definitely had a positive impact on our students. Students have been exposed to a greater variety of foods and are enjoying the new healthy menu options at the tuckshop. We have also noticed students have been more settled in the classroom, and if they are more settled, they are more focused on their learning, which is a great outcome,” said Renee.
We received some fantastic entries for the Healthy Eats I Made It! Competition this year with families keen to get into the kitchen to bake, grill and whizz up some fantastic healthy recipes.
We had entries from as far North as Port Douglas and as far South as Logan and Ipswich, but in the end, there could only be one winner.
Sascha’s winning entry included not one but TWO recipe re-creations!
Sascha and her mum created a banana and dragon fruit smoothie! The dragon fruit gave the smoothie a brilliant light purple colour and a delicious new flavour.
The second recipe Sascha and her mum decided to re-create was the savoury muffin recipe.
Sascha’s mum Eleanor said it was an easy recipe to make.
“The muffin recipe was already like another recipe we often make so we thought we would try it out. We added tomato and grated zucchini to this version as our healthy twist,” said Eleanor.
As the winner of the I Made It! Competition Sascha and her family have won a $100 Woolworths gift card to spend on their next grocery shop. Congratulations!
St. Benedict’s Catholic School, Shaw is our second school to achieve Healthy Eats accreditation in 2022.
North Queensland Community Development Officer, Megan, presented St. Benedict’s Principal Penny Collins and Healthy Eats Coordinator Aleesha Rockemer with an official certificate, and special gift to commemorate the milestone at a special presentation ceremony held at the school in Term 4.
The school was delighted to achieve Healthy Eats accreditation, having worked with the program for two years, and building their impressive healthy school food environment.
“I’m very proud of our school for putting in the extra effort to achieve full Healthy Eats accreditation. Our students have benefited the most from the program, taking away healthy messages and habits they can use for life,” said Aleesha Rockemer, Healthy Eats Coordinator.
Throughout the Healthy Eats program St. Benedict’s worked on some fantastic initiatives that helped promote healthy food choices to the school and wider St. Benedict’s community, including the establishment of an impressive fruit and vegetable garden – which even included chickens!
St. Benedict’s also encouraged healthy eating during their EcoFest event. This event is open to members of the community and brings together people and businesses with an eco-focus. For the event students created and handed out the recipe card for their famous St. Benedict’s vegetable fritters (a recipe we have even used at Healthy Eats – find it in the Life Ed Qld Hub) that helps people achieve their daily five serves of veg.
“Being part of Healthy Eats has certainly been a positive experience for all of us at St. Benedict’s. Being part of the program really shows our community that we value healthy eating and recognise how important it is to children’s development and learning.” said Aleesha.
The students themselves agree that being part of Healthy Eats has been a positive experience for them.
“It’s been good to be part of Healthy Eats because it helps kids to eat healthier and it is good for them to be healthier,” said Year 6 student, Ryan.
“Eating healthy foods helps us learn and stay focused, and be fit and strong,” said Year 6 student Chloe.
When asked what their favourite part of the program was, the students all agreed it was the classroom sessions.
“The detective card activity was the best because we had to line up all the foods and compare their nutritional values,” said Year 6 student, Sarie.
“The classroom session was the best because Ms Stanton taught us a lot and we got to make and eat healthy food which was fun,” said Year 6 student, Shelley.
This year the Healthy Eats program was selected as a recipient of a significant grant from the Life Ed Australia Thrive Children’s fund.
Established to help our Life Ed work reach rural and remote children who need it most across Australia, the Thrive fund enabled Life Ed Qld to deliver Healthy Eats to schools across far North Qld who otherwise wouldn’t have been able access to the program.
One of the best parts of delivering our program to remote schools this year was working with Thrive partner – Woolworths Fresh Food Kids, to deliver fresh fruit and veg to our schools.
Community Development Officer for North Queensland, Megan, loved being at the schools when their fruit delivery arrived or even being the bearer of the delivery herself, as was the case at Cannonvale State School.
“The best thing is seeing the faces of the staff and students light up when they get the delivery. They can’t believe the amount of fruit and veg – usually enough for every student to meet their daily two serves of fruit.
“Anything left over on the day is usually frozen and used in class cooking activities like smoothie making,” said Megan.
We know that overweight and obesity rates are higher in children from rural and remote areas compared to those in cities, making reaching these communities a priority to help break the cycle.
Check out some of the photos we recently captured from the Cannonvale State School Healthy Eats session and Woolworths fruit delivery day below.
If you would like to donate to the Life Ed Thrive Children’s fund and help kids from rural and remote areas access this vital health education, you can donate here.
The Healthy Eats student leaders at Port Douglas State School have been taking their role very seriously this year, finding lots of ways they can help improve their school food environment and support their classmates to make healthy food and drink choices.
In Term 4, the student leaders have been running a ‘nude food’ lunchbox challenge. Nude food is food that doesn’t require any plastic wrap – such as apples, bananas and cherry tomatoes, and tend to be healthier options.
Each week students are encouraged to bring as many nude food items in their lunch box as possible. The Healthy Eats student leaders visit each class and invite students to share their lunch boxes. They then tally the nude foods in each class, and the winning class for that week is presented with a special award at the school parade.
“The nude food challenge has been a great way to encourage students to think about the foods in their lunch box and to choose healthier items. It also has a positive environmental impact too,” said Ms Edmonds, Healthy Eats Coordinator at Port Douglas State School.
Another impressive initiative from the Port Douglas SS Healthy Eats team is the introduction of the Monday parade health hustle. Student leaders share healthy eating tips with the school and then lead the school in a movement activity.
Students begin with a warm-up and then increase movement intensity during a fast-paced song selected by the student leaders. The hustle then concludes with a slowdown, mindful movements and breathing in order to prepare students for a busy day of learning.
The Healthy Eats student leaders have also been supporting brain break across the school – sharing information about the health benefits of eating different fruit and veg and collecting data across the school about students participating in the brain break.
“The student leaders were very active in encouraging a healthy brain break in the morning, and the data collected by the group showed a great increase in students who were participating. We went from 60% student participation to 90%, which is a fantastic result!
“Our student leaders have been a positive influence in changing student perceptions of healthy eating,” said Ms. Edmonds.
Wherever your school is on your Healthy Eats journey, a healthy tuckshop menu is an important feature of any whole of school nutrition program. Planning a healthy menu is not just a matter of pulling together a random selection of healthy options; there are many considerations. To help you get it right, here’s a simple checklist for planning a menu that ticks all the boxes for preferences, profit and health.
QAST has been working with school tuckshops for over 25 years, so we know a little something about successful tuckshop menus.
Visit the QAST website for inspiration and to check out their new Sample Menus, including options for primary and high schools, winter, summer, and smaller tuckshops with limited equipment.