Welcome to the second edition of Life Ed Queensland’s Healthy Eats Grapevine for 2023.
Term 2 is traditionally a busy one for the Healthy Eats team – and this year has been no exception.
With schools having locked in goals in Term 1, the Healthy Eats Team has been checking in and supporting them with program implementation. Both Jaclyn and Megan have been out and about delivering classroom nutrition sessions, taking part in passport challenge picnics and engaging with Healthy Eats schools at Under 8’s days. There has been a lot going on!
It is wonderful to see the parent engagement in the program and the inspiring initiatives and ideas coming from Healthy Eats Student Leader groups. We are now mid-way through the year and schools are starting to reach their half-way goals, some well on their way to achieving Healthy Eats accreditation.
Port Douglas State School finished 2022 successfully meeting the criteria for our core pathway and enthusiastically followed up their commitment to Healthy Eats this year, setting a goal to reach Healthy Eats accreditation, which, I am pleased to say, they achieved this term. Congratulations to the entire school community who have worked so hard to achieve this goal, and who have helped create a gold standard healthy school food environment for their students, staff and families.
In this edition of the Grapevine, we share Port Douglas’ experience working toward Healthy Eats accreditation and what this undertaking has meant for their school.
We also take a look at Jaclyn’s recent visits to Woogaroo Creek State School and Loganholme State School, Riverview State School’s professional development session, as well as Megan’s visit to our Townsville Healthy Eats schools.
Don’t miss our delicious apple parfait recipe – a great one for afternoon snacks at home or as a tuckshop special. Our friends at QAST have also contributed a fantastic article about attracting volunteers to the tuckshop, which is a challenge faced by many schools.
Wishing you a healthy, happy break, we look forward to working with you again in Term 3.
CEO, Life Ed Qld
In this edition:
After diligently working toward their goal over a two-year period, Port Douglas State School has received Healthy Eats accreditation.
The school showed amazing commitment to the health and wellbeing of their school community, working consistently to create a gold standard healthy school food environment.
It truly was a whole school effort that brought them across the line, with students, staff and the school P&C all working together to reach this fantastic milestone.
Port Douglas State School’s Healthy Eats Coordinator, Jelena Edmonds, was delighted to receive the news the school had reached accreditation.
“It was very exciting to receive the news we had achieved accreditation. The whole school has been working together to achieve this milestone, and we are all so proud of each other. This achievement really demonstrates how committed everyone at Port Douglas State School is to the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Jelena.
While working toward accreditation, Port Douglas developed a fantastic fruit and vegetable garden complete with banana plants, eggplants, tomatoes and lettuce which could all be used in the tuckshop or in class cooking activities. A variety of classes also utilised the garden in classroom projects, which helped encourage interaction and care for the garden across year levels.
The Port Douglas State School Healthy Eats leaders were also very pro-active, implementing some great initiatives across the school, including a healthy lunchbox competition and the popular health hustle – an activity encouraging all students to get involved by moving their bodies and making healthy food and drink choices.
The Port Douglas State School P&C were also very committed to seeing the school achieve Healthy Eats accreditation and supported the program with initiatives such as school juice days (where students could bring a cup to fill up with beautiful fresh fruit and veggie juice) and school breakfast club, which provided students with the chance to fill up their tummies with a healthy breakfast before their school day began.
Congratulations again Port Douglas State School for all your hard work and commitment to achieving Healthy Eats accreditation!
North Queensland Community Development Officer, Megan, visited Townsville recently to deliver the Healthy Eats classroom nutrition sessions to some of our North Queensland schools.
Throughout the week Megan visited Townsville West State School, Aitkenvale State School, Vincent State School and Currajong State School. These visits have been funded by Townsville Communities for Children, funded by the Australian Government and facilitated by The Smith Family Townsville.
“It was great to get back out to Townsville for the classroom sessions. It’s always exciting to see all the smiling faces ready to learn,” Megan said.
The classroom session is an interactive experience where students learn about the human body, and the overall health benefits of good nutrition, including the impacts food can have on their energy levels and mood. Students also learn how to read the nutrition labels on their favourite foods, investigate influences on their food choices and finish the session with a delicious hands-on activity where they create their own healthy snack.
Currajong State School student Mikayla really enjoyed the Healthy Eats session.
“It was very fun. I learnt a lot, like what is a sometimes food and an everyday food, and how much we should have – like serving size. Overall, the session was so fun and exciting.”
Louise and Zoey, Year 5/6 students at Townsville West State School also enjoyed their session and were excited to share which ingredients they used to create their healthy snack and what they had learned.
“It was pretty good. I had celery and vegemite and carrot and vegemite. I learnt that vegemite has lots of sodium!” Zoey said.
“I learnt that you need five serves of vegetables a day! You can use your hand to measure a serve!” Louise said.
The Townsville schools will now begin their passport challenges –where students aim to increase their veg and fruit consumption across a four-week period. To celebrate their commitment and efforts, students participate in a Healthy Eats picnic at the end of the four weeks to wrap up the challenge.
As tuckshop convenors know, we can’t run an effective and efficient tuckshop without volunteers. They really are the glue that keeps us together.
They can also be challenging to find.
QAST has developed some great resources, available on the QAST website, about volunteering in tuckshops, including strategies for recruiting new volunteers.
Some of the actions you can take include:
Once you do have volunteers, make sure to let them know how much you value and appreciate their time:
There is no need to wait for a special event or time to spoil your volunteers and show them how much you value them – any day is a good day!
Healthy Eats Community Development Officer, Jaclyn, had lots of fun out at Woogaroo Creek State School and Loganholme State School recently, helping to celebrate Under 8’s Week.
Both schools put on fantastic mornings filled with fun, games, activities and experiences for the youngest members of their school communities.
We were delighted to be invited, and Jaclyn set-up some great activities for students – all centered around the Healthy Eats message and this years Under 8’s Week theme – Play – You, Me and Our Communities.
At Woogaroo Creek State School Jaclyn created a funky ‘fruit and veg characters’ activity where students could colour in the fruit or veg character of their choice, and then customise it with googly eyes, stickers, pipe cleaners and other bits and pieces to create zany characters.
This activity created the opportunity for great conversations around the children’s favourite fruits and vegetables and how they like to eat them.
At Loganholme State School Jaclyn helped Year 1 teacher, Mrs. Holcombe prepare a delicious activity for the under 8’s. Students were encouraged to craft their own fruit kebab masterpieces by choosing a variety of cut-up fruits to make colourful and textural creations that they could also EAT!
The Loganholme students had so much fun making and eating their fruit kebabs and learning all about the positive impacts healthy food choices have on their bodies.
“They were both really fun days, and a great opportunity to promote the healthy eating message to younger students in a fun and relaxed environment,” Jaclyn said.
Loganholme State School Deputy-Principal, Renee Child, also thought involving Healthy Eats was great for their students.
“Having Healthy Eats attend our Under 8’s morning emphasised to both students and the community the importance of, and close connection our school has with the Healthy Eats program. The activity showed both students and parents how to make healthy eating a fun activity for all. It was a huge hit amongst our students,” Renee said.
Community Development Officer, Jaclyn, visited Riverview State School recently to deliver the Healthy Eats professional development session, and was met with an overwhelmingly positive response from the 32 teachers, leadership and support staff in attendance.
“It was a great session! The staff were very engaged, as the school has been really proactive in applying the Healthy Eats and Smart Choices strategies across the whole school community. It was a great opportunity to highlight the successful initiatives already in place, such as a Smart Choices compliant tuckshop, thriving fruit and veg garden and established brain breaks, while reflecting on areas for improvement,” Jaclyn said.
In addition to the Healthy Eats presentation, staff participated in reflective activities that served to identify what individuals and the school were already doing well to create a supportive healthy eating environment, what they could improve upon and what types of support they needed to make these improvements.
Undertaking these activities allowed Jaclyn to facilitate discussion around establishing Riverview’s Healthy Eats goals for the year, and helped highlight how best she could then support them following the session.
“From the activities we undertook I was able to identify areas in which I could provide the most benefit, such as ideas for non-food/healthy classroom rewards, strategies and resources to support families with healthy eating and tips for garden sustainability,” Jaclyn said.
At the end of the session Jaclyn included a hands-on activity, asking staff to create a healthy ‘ants on a log’ snack that could easily be used once they were back in the classroom as well. Staff were able to create different flavour combinations using fresh ingredients such as carrots, celery, sultanas, hummus, chickpeas, blueberries etc.
Riverview staff left the session with a much clearer understanding of the Healthy Eats program (especially those whose classes are not directly involved in the classroom sessions), the support available from the Healthy Eats team and numerous new ways of encouraging and supporting healthy food choices in their classrooms and throughout the school.
“This was a great presentation! It was encouraging to hear we are doings lots of things well, but good to identify areas for improvement as well,” one Riverview SS teacher commented.
Students at Woogaroo Creek State School were thrilled to invite Healthy Eats Community Development Officer Jaclyn to share in their Healthy Eats passport challenge celebration picnic recently.
As part of the passport challenge, the Year 3 to 6 students had been actively working towards increasing their intake of vegetables and fruits, diligently recording their progress to see if they could reach their goal of eating two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies each day.
There was plenty of excitement from the students when Jaclyn arrived, with one Year 3/4 student exclaiming that she was so excited to hear Jaclyn was going to have the picnic with them!
Woogaroo Creek State School has been actively embracing the Healthy Eats program, aligning it with their school REACH goals. These goals are an important part of the school culture and help guide the school’s and student’s direction. Healthy Eats helps achieve the R goal by encouraging students to ‘Respect’ themselves and their E goal of ‘Empowering’ themselves.
The whole school community was encouraged to be involved in the challenge, with Woogaroo Creek State School regularly posting healthy tips and recipes on their social media pages and in their communication activities with parents, to help everyone reach their recommended daily two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies.
At the end of the challenge students were treated to a yummy healthy picnic that included veggie sticks and dips, cheese and crackers, wraps and fresh fruit – all prepared by the dedicated school staff. Students were able to relax on comfy picnic blankets while they enjoyed the meal, and there was plenty of discussion around everyone’s favourite fruits and vegetables, and the tactics they used to eat more of these foods during the challenge.
To keep the momentum going, students were invited to take up the Frankie Fresh pledge. The pledge encourages students to set healthy eating goals and make a personal commitment to making healthy food and drink choices in a way that is achievable for them.
“Many of the students were really keen to take the pledge, they were able to use the ideas we provided, but many of them decided to set their own creative goals, which was great to see. Some students chose to try and eat a rainbow of fruit and veg each day or make sure they pack fruit and veg in their lunchbox for brain break, and some committed to trying new fruits and vegetables. It was wonderful to be part of the celebration and to see so much enthusiasm around healthy eating,” Jaclyn said.