Welcome to the first edition of the Healthy Eats Grapevine for 2023.
As always, we are excited to start another school year by welcoming new schools into the program as they begin their Healthy Eats journey.
It has been a busy start to the year for our Community Development Officer’s Jaclyn and Megan. They have been out and about at schools across Southeast and Northern Queensland, welcoming new schools, meeting coordinators and setting Healthy Eats goals for the year.
Jaclyn and Megan have been busy meeting with our current schools, as well as our sustainability schools – those who have already achieved accreditation. It is always so pleasing to see how Healthy Eats becomes embedded in the culture of our accredited schools, and to watch the program evolve and change over time.
In this edition we find out more about the amazing Fernbrooke State School Healthy Eats rap. Created by Fernbrooke State School Year 6 students in 2022, the student led rap is a fun way to promote healthy eating within the school community. If you haven’t seen it on our socials already, check it out on the Healthy Eats community Facebook page.
We also talk in depth with one of our newest schools – Woogaroo Creek State School – to find out why they decided to take up the Healthy Eats program this year and what benefits they hope it will bring to their school.
Schools will also find a great article from our partner QAST, about how to create a successful tuckshop menu; and we share a new recipe for delicious chicken rice paper rolls – perfect for lunchboxes, tuckshops or at home.
As we reach the end of Term 2 and the Easter school holidays, I hope that you all are enjoying a restful and relaxing Easter break, and we look forward to working with you again in Term 2.
CEO, Life Ed Queensland
We were so excited to welcome new school – Woogaroo Creek State School to the Healthy Eats program this year, but the voice on the phone signing up, seemed very familiar, and had us wondering if we had a case of de ja vu.
Community Development Officer Jaclyn was delighted to hear from Kendall Seccombe, the now Principal at Woogaroo Creek State School, whom we had previously worked with at another Healthy Eats school – Ipswich East State School.
“It is a real thrill when people who you have previously worked with reach out and want to work with you again in a new environment. It really validates the work we are doing and enables us to get our important message out to a whole new group of students,” said Jaclyn.
Kendall was also excited to be working with the Healthy Eats team again, having seen the value of the program first-hand at her previous school.
“After successfully implementing Healthy Eats at other schools and seeing the value of the program for our students, it was a great opportunity to connect with Healthy Eats for our new school journey. We will have vegetable gardens and an orchard at the end of our first stage, and then student kitchens, where we will use the food we grow in our garden to learn how to prepare healthy and nutritious snacks and meals. We know we will get great support from Healthy Eats for these initiatives at our new school,” said Ms. Seccombe.
The Healthy Eats program also supports the REACH goals at Woogaroo Creek State School, in particular the empowered element.
“The Heathy Eats program empowers our students and our school community to live healthy lives and make healthy choices. It also supports our Health curriculum,” said Ms. Seccombe.
Staff have also been very supportive of taking up the program and see the benefits Healthy Eats will bring to supporting the school’s REACH goals as well as their pedagogical focus of experiential learning.
“Our pedagogical focus is on Experiential Learning, and I know Healthy Eats will be a quality hands on program for our students to engage in. The Healthy Eats snack making workshop was particularly popular at my previous school, Ipswich East State School. We found many students recreated these snacks at home and would then bring them in for lunch or brain breaks,” said Ms. Seccombe.
We can’t wait to work with Woogaroo Creek State School on their Healthy Eats journey and help them create a healthy school food environment for their community.
Sharing the Healthy Eats message across the school community is an important part of the program, but it can also be one of the most challenging, especially when not all classes participate in sessions or are part of the passport challenge.
But Fernbrooke State School has come up with a super fun and catchy way to get the message out – through rap!
If you haven’t seen the Fernbrooke State School Healthy Eats rap on our Facebook group – check it out – the music video that accompanies it is super cool too, especially the claymation!
The school found the tune for the rap online, and had the students write to the US-based composer, DJ Ray, to ask for permission to use it. The kids were very excited when he replied and granted permission! DJ Ray was very pleased to be contacted, as Fernbrooke was the only school that had ever contacted him to request official permission to use the tune.
Once permission was granted, Fernbrooke SS Healthy Eats Coordinator, Brooke, wrote the lyrics and had the students sing them with the music.
“Rapping is actually much harder than it seems, but the kids had fun and gave it a good go,” said Brooke.
In the rap, the Year 6 students promote healthy eating and remind the school community to eat their ‘two and five to help you thrive’ each day. They also promote brain breaks and link Frankie Fresh and the Fernbrooke SS mascot, Perry, to the healthy eating message in the rap.
To create the accompanying music video, the Year 6’s took photos and submitted videos, they even joined forces with the Year 6 Technology claymation unit. Some of the students used the Healthy Eats classroom session and the Healthy Eats passport challenge as the inspiration for their claymations, and these made the perfect addition to the Healthy Eats rap video.
“We loved that some students chose to continue the message of healthy eating into their claymation project. It was so cute, we just had to include it in the rap video clip,” said Brooke.
The video and rap were shared on the Fernbrooke SS Facebook page so the message could reach a wider audience, and it was very well received by the school community.
“We had a lot of views and positive comments – it is a catchy tune with a great message, so it was very popular,” said Brooke.
Brooke said the rap was a great success for Fernbrooke SS, and she would recommend other schools try promoting the Healthy Eats message through music.
“Getting kids involved in any way is great. The rap song is catchy, and the kids loved making it. It isn’t perfect but they had a few goes at singing it and kept turning up each day to record it. Making the video image montage was also fun for the kids to be involved in. The message of ‘Healthy Eating’ is so important – so however that gets into our student’s heads is brilliant – we found the rap song did its job to promote the Healthy Eating message and was a bit of fun too,” said Brooke.
A well-designed tuckshop menu is key to its popularity among students and ultimately its profitability. When designing your tuckshop menu, think about your main goals: what is it that you want to achieve?
Ensure there is adequate variety in the items offered, without making the menu overly complicated. Offer some items from each of the following four (or five) groups:
Snacks can often be the menu category where it is trickier to offer green-rated items. See our new resource on the QAST website for tips and ideas on how to offer healthy snacks in your tuckshop.
When you have finished designing your menu, ask yourself: Does it offer something for everyone in your school community, including special diets and different cultural backgrounds?
Daily hot or cold meal specials can offer variety, and bundling menu items into meal deals can increase spend per student, without increasing the workload in tuckshop.
Themed food days (eg. Book Week, Science Week) can also be an effective and popular way to increase variety in your menu.
Check out the QAST website for more ideas and inspiration at www.qast.org.au.
We are often asked by the schools we work with about ways to celebrate in class or reward students without using red foods like chocolates or lollies and the truth is, there are heaps of great ways to recognise wonderful work and have fun as a class while keeping it healthy.
Healthy Eats Nutritionist, Jaclyn, along with the help of a number of our Healthy Eats schools, has created a fantastic new resource for schools (and parents too) packed full of fun and healthy ways to celebrate with or without food.
“Generally, food rewards are discouraged as they can contribute to the development of unhealthy relationships with food, but we also recognise that foods are an important part of celebration and sharing food at a party etc. is a great way to build connections. There are some great, simple and easy tips in this new resource that makes sharing healthier foods a breeze,” Jaclyn said.
Our North Queensland Community Development Officer, Megan has been very busy kicking off a new year of Healthy Eats in Townsville.
Visiting our 2023 Healthy Eats schools – Townsville West State School, Currajong State School, Vincent State School and Aitkenvale State School, Megan was delighted by the enthusiasm each school had for another year of Healthy Eats.
Megan touched base with each school to go through the Healthy Eats toolkit to identify and plan out goals for the year. Each school had some great ideas for reaching their goals, including working with business and community groups, further engaging student leadership teams, garden planning and working with tuckshops.
One early morning start even led to Megan tying on her apron and lending a hand to the wonderful volunteers at Aitkenvale State School who run the regular breakfast club. Teachers and volunteers poured cereal and buttered toast non-stop to feed the hungry hordes of students before school began.
“It was lots of fun getting involved in breakfast club, it is such a great initiative, and the kids love it,” said Megan.
At Townsville West State School, Megan met with a familiar face from the Healthy Eats program, Toni Wilson, who showed Megan around the school’s fruit garden. A healthy crop of mandarins and pawpaws have already started to grow, and the garden is in a beautiful spot to walk around – just watch out for the cheeky goanna!
Vincent State School had some fantastic ideas for promoting healthy food choices to their students – including a lunch club with the principal! Students can bring a friend and enjoy a delicious healthy meal cooked by Mrs Espig. Yum!
Currajong State School has a particular focus on student engagement and utilising peer to peer learning to encourage students to make healthy food choices and create behaviour change within the community.
Megan said she was looking forward to continuing her work with the Townsville schools and looked forward to returning later in the year.
“It is shaping up to be a fantastic year of Healthy Eats in Townsville! I’m super excited to work with all the schools on their goals and visit again soon to deliver the classroom module and kick-off the passport challenge with all the students,” said Megan.