Welcome to the Term 3 edition of the Healthy Eats Grapevine for 2023. We are now well and truly on the downhill run into the end of the year, and everything just seems to pick up pace from here.
This term has been another busy one for our Healthy Eats team, with our Community Development Officers Jaclyn and Megan spending time in schools across their regions once again.
Megan recently visited Port Douglas State School to present their accreditation certificate and spoke with some of their wonderful student leaders about the importance of healthy eating and how they are working to promote it within their school.
In this edition, we catch-up with some of our accredited schools to showcase how being part of the Healthy Eats program continues to benefit them and what Healthy Eats looks like now for their school community.
Tuckshops play a vital role in the school food environment, and our partners – The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) work closely with our Healthy Eats school tuckshops in a number of different ways. In this edition QAST shares some new food safety regulations coming into effect soon that are important for school tuckshops to be aware of.
We also have another great recipe for you to try at home or in the school tuckshop – rainbow pasta salad, created by our Healthy Eats Nutritionist, Jaclyn, and it tastes just as good as it looks!
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to join our Healthy Eats Facebook group. The team post great content that you can share with your school community. We also love seeing and being tagged in the healthy eating initiatives you post! The Healthy Eats Facebook group also provides a space for schools to share their challenges and successes and support others with ideas and suggestions.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Healthy Eats this term. I hope you enjoy a happy, healthy holiday.
CEO, Life Ed Qld
In this edition:
Healthy Eats Southeast Queensland Community Development Officer, Jaclyn has been out and about delivering the Healthy Eats classroom module to students from Fernbrooke State School and Woogaroo Creek State School in the Ipswich region.
Woogaroo Creek State School is a new school and still growing, so Jaclyn was excited to be able to deliver the module to students from Year levels 3 to 6. In the classroom session students learned about healthy food choices and the digestive system, grooved to the nutrient dance that teaches them how everyday foods help their bodies and made a yummy snack to enjoy after the session.
Jaclyn was very pleased to see how the Woogaroo Creek State School students from each year level engaged in the session.
“It was great to have students from younger year levels participate in the session. They got as much out of it as the older students and were very enthusiastic about learning how the foods they eat affect their body,” Jaclyn said.
One student commented “It was so cool seeing inside the body and I loved making ants on a log! I chose carrot, cream cheese and sultanas.”
The Year 6 students from Fernbrooke State School also enjoyed the Healthy Eats classroom session. Students learned about healthy foods, discussed factors that influence food choices, became ‘food detectives’ and uncovered exactly what is in some of the most common foods we eat.
“Fernbrooke students really enjoyed their Healthy Eats session – particularly the snack making activity! It was great to see students getting involved in making ants on a log, some of them even tried foods they had never eaten before, like chickpeas and cucumber,” Jaclyn said.
Teaching staff at Fernbrooke State School also enjoyed the classroom session and were impressed by the lessons their students took away from the session.
“The students in 6E found the Healthy Eats session extremely valuable. In particular, learning about how much sugar is in everyday pantry items such as cereals. They learnt about new and healthy snack ideas that are affordable and delicious…especially the lightly salted chickpeas.”
The Healthy Eats student leader group at Fernbrooke State School are setting the bar high when it comes to promoting healthy food choices. The students are dedicated to helping create a gold standard healthy food environment within their school community and are working hard to achieve their goal.
Each class in Year 4, 5 and 6 have nominated one student to be the Healthy Eats representative for their class. It is the responsibility of each leader to gather ideas from their classmates to promote healthy eating and attend a regular meeting where all ideas can be discussed and the action to take agreed upon.
The Healthy Eats leaders even hosted a special guest recently, Healthy Eats Community Development Officer Jaclyn, who was super excited to be working with the group. The leaders and Jaclyn brainstormed ideas and discussed how they could bring them to life across the school.
Jaclyn said she loved working with the leaders and was very impressed by their enthusiasm and the quality of ideas they had come up with to promote healthy eating.
“I like being a Healthy Eats leader because I get to teach people how to be healthy and help students in the lower grades to be healthier. I want to go to lower years and help them make better choices,” said Year 5 student leader, Esther.
“I really like sharing my ideas about ways to get students to make healthier choices,” said Year 6 student leader, Francesca.
The Fernbrooke Healthy Eats student leaders have come up with some fantastic ideas to promote healthy eating so far and have started working on a number of projects including:
The Healthy Eats leaders are also working closely with the school’s Garden Group to identify ways the produce in Perry’s Garden can be used within the school or offered to staff and the wider school community to help raise funds for new seedlings and garden equipment.
Healthy Eats Community Development Officer in North Queensland, Megan, recently visited Port Douglas State School to present the school with their official Healthy Eats accreditation certificate.
This is a fantastic achievement and clearly demonstrates the commitment and effort Port Douglas State School students, teachers, community and staff have put in to create a school food environment to be proud of.
The school was officially recognised this term and is now fully endorsed by Life Ed Qld as having a gold standard healthy school food environment.
Port Douglas Healthy Eats Coordinator Jelena was very excited to receive the award on behalf of the school and said it was the group effort and strong commitment to the well-being of each member of the Port Douglas State School community that helped them achieve this milestone.
“We are very proud to receive this recognition. The well-being of our school community is very important and the main reason we decided to take up the Healthy Eats program. Achieving accreditation really demonstrates this,” said Jelena.
Schools who reach Healthy Eats accreditation receive a grant to assist them on their healthy eating journey and Port Douglas has decided to use their grant to purchase cooking equipment such as mixing bowls, measuring cups, utensils and a blender that can be used in classroom cooking sessions, the tuckshop and even for the very popular – Tuesday Juice Day.
“On Tuesday Juice Day we have two Healthy Eats leaders who help Miss Edmonds make juice for any student who would like some. Fresh fruit donated by Woolies is used for this and also for fruit break for kids who forget. Students can bring their own fruit and veg too, and we will juice it for them,” said Healthy Eats student leader Sascha.
Congratulations again to Port Douglas State School on this amazing achievement and we can’t wait to see how their healthy school food environment journey develops.
We recently caught up with a few of our Healthy Eats accredited schools to see what they have been up to, how their accreditation grant has helped their community in its healthy eating journey and what they are doing now to continue their commitment to creating a gold standard healthy food environment within their school.
Location: Atherton Tablelands, North Qld
Accredited since: 2021
Jubilee Christian College was part of our largest cohort of schools to achieve Healthy Eats accreditation in 2021. One of ten schools who received accreditation that year, Jubilee has retained their accreditation status and is still committed to promoting healthy eating within its school community today.
Community involvement is a key ingredient for creating a healthy school food environment for Jubilee, which is why they chose to purchase a BBQ for their school and a number of gardening items as part of their accreditation grant says Healthy Eats Coordinator, Wayne Ralph.
“We have put the BBQ to great use and use it for our regular family BBQ’s and special events like the Great Wheelbarrow Race.
“Our garden is thriving too and the garden equipment we received has made a big difference. The green waste is divided between the worm farm and the compost bin. The garden beds grew really well, and have recently been replanted with corn, dwarf beans, carrots, beetroot, celery, black rice, basil, onions and spring onions. We have sawtooth coriander, chives, nasturtium, mint and oregano as well. Recently one of our garden champions brought in cucumber seedlings and a South African Pumpkin seedling,” said Wayne.
The schools Healthy Eats leaders are still active and promote healthy eating at regular school assemblies.
“We have definitely been able to maintain enthusiasm for healthy eating at the school, which is always great to see,” said Wayne.
Location: Mossman, North Qld
Accredited since: 2021
Mossman was the very first school in Queensland to achieve full Healthy Eats accreditation. Working on the program for three years, Mossman made big changes to their school food environment and tuckshop to meet Smart Choices and Healthy Eats requirements.
Since becoming accredited, Mossman has maintained their healthy school food environment, and Healthy Eats Coordinator Sharon Case says the tucksop – Munchbox Mayi, still plays a major role in setting the healthy eating tone for the school.
“Our tuckshop, which has so many incredible healthy options – has changed the eating habits of many of our children and our staff! Our sushi bowls and burrito bowls are to DIE FOR!
“The new dishwasher we were able to purchase after receiving Healthy Eats accreditation has also really benefited our tuckshop and school. Our tuckshop staff can now focus on creating yummy healthy menu options for our whole school community to enjoy – without having to worry about all the washing up,” said Sharon.
The school garden, reinvigorated during the Healthy Eats program is still thriving at Mossman too.
“Our kids love the garden. They like to water the plants, do the weeding and pick the veggies. We even entered some veggies in the local show and won a few prizes! We use the veggies in our tuckshop too and make them available to our community free of charge, which many of our families regularly take advantage of,” Sharon said.
Location: Loganholme, Southeast Qld
Accredited since: 2022
Loganholme State School is one of the more recent Healthy Eats accreditation recipients and in 2022 were the first school to achieve this milestone in Southeast Queensland. Loganholme launched themselves into the Healthy Eats program with gusto and were able to achieve accreditation within the first 12 months of being part of the program.
The veggie garden was such a popular part of the program that the school used their accreditation grant to purchase new garden beds, fertiliser, soil and an assortment of seedlings to start a second garden in the senior area of the school.
Loganholme Deputy-Principal, Renee Child has been delighted with the enthusiasm for the program and its initiatives.
“Our students love being involved in the garden – so much so we decided to create a second! Students really enjoy taking responsibility for the produce and love to see it being used by the tuckshop. It has also encouraged many students to try new foods like lettuce and snow peas,” said Renee.
The tuckshop and Healthy Eats leaders were also major parts of the school’s success. The tuckshop is now Smart Choices compliant and the Healthy Eats leadership group consistently works to promote healthy eating to students across the school.
The school has also initiated some great new ways to promote healthy eating within the school community – introducing Super Sushi Wednesday, tuckshop tasting days and a new breakfast club that provides a healthy start to the day for students.
“Working with Healthy Eats really helped us pull all the puzzle pieces of our healthy school food environment together. We have found it really easy to keep all our Healthy Eats initiatives going at Loganholme State School, even expanding some of them! We couldn’t be happier with what we have achieved and the impact on our school,” said Renee.
Do you have a certified Food Safety Supervisor in your tuckshop?
Changes have been announced that may affect your tuckshop moving forward.
As of 8th December 2023 (the last day of the school year), Food Safety Supervisor Certificates will expire after 5 years from when they were issued and will need to be refreshed to remain valid.
This means that all food businesses with a licence (including school tuckshops) will need to ensure all staff who earned this qualification prior to 2018 must update it.
Whilst state schools are not required to have a Food Safety Supervisor on site according to the legislation, many tuckshops ensure at least one staff member has this qualification as best practice.
The Food Safety Supervisor course covers topics such as food contamination hazards and prevention; personal hygiene and responsibilities for food handlers; safe food handling, storage and food safety programs.
The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) is offering Food Safety Supervisor training courses across the next two terms, both online and face-to-face. The upcoming dates for the Food Safety Supervisor training are listed on the QAST website, or please get in touch with us if you can’t find a course that suits you or your tuckshop.