Welcome to the first edition of the Healthy Eats Grapevine!
Providing health and safety education to Queensland kids has been our priority for 35 years, and the award-winning Healthy Eats program is a key initiative in this work.
Aiming to increase the vegetable and fruit intake of primary aged kids, Healthy Eats supports schools and communities to provide healthy food environments and nutrition education.
This regular Newsletter will keep you up-to-date with everything happening in the Healthy Eats program and community, and will share:
We are excited to have been able to expand our Healthy Eats work into South East Queensland schools this year, after the successful pilot stage in Northern Queensland, and look forward to continuing to work with schools and communities to support healthier choices for children.
Michael Fawsitt , CEO of Life Education Queensland
This year, Healthy Eats has expanded to South East Queensland, and one of the first schools to take up the program from the region is Ipswich East State School.
Last term, Healthy Eats Community Development Officer and Nutritionist, Jaclyn made the trip out to Ipswich to deliver the Healthy Eats Classroom module to the Year 5 classes.
An enthusiastic cohort, the Year 5’s learned all about the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.
“Eating healthy food actually helps your hair grow and it means our bodies have less chance of suffering illness and disease,” said Ipswich East Year 5 student Jaxyn Miabox.
During the classroom session students eagerly watched the journey vitamins and minerals take around our body and even got their own bodies moving during the ‘nutrient dance’; but on this day, the Healthy Eats session was a little out of the ordinary, with the Year 5 group participating in a Healthy Eats photo shoot!
The kids were thrilled to feature in the shoot, and were so great to work with – keeping the energy levels sky high throughout the morning.
We were able to capture lots of great images across the school, from the classroom to the Tuckshop, to the garden and the schoolyard, capturing the whole school environment, and the purpose of the Healthy Eats program to encourage healthy food choices across the whole school community.
We may have even uncovered some future stars of the small and silver screens!
Thank you very much to the staff, students and parents of Ipswich East State School for opening up your school to us and helping us capture many wonderful images that will help us share our Healthy Eats story and messages with communities right across Queensland.
Students at Julatten State School in far North Queensland have been getting their creative juices and smoothies flowing in a recent healthy drinks challenge.
The Year 5 students have been part of the Healthy Eats program since the start of the school year and were recently tasked with creating their very own healthy drink they could make at school.
The students worked in groups to develop their recipes, make shopping lists of all the ingredients they would need, and then set about perfecting the drink recipes using a trial-and-error method to determine which combination of fruits and vegies tasted the best.
Healthy Eats Community Development Officer Kristina joined the class for a drink making session and was excited by the creative combinations the kids came up with.
“There were some great recipes and some really impressive use of different fruits and vegies like dragon fruit and broccoli,” said Kristina.
Recipes included – the Sour Face, Lumpy Bumpy, Green Drink and Fruity Twist.
“We thought mostly green ingredients would taste good and also have loads of good nutrients,” said Year 5 student, Indigo.
Each group was able to taste the other team’s drink recipes and voted at the end for their favourite combination – with Lumpy Bumpy coming out on top! Fruity Twist creator Cate loved the healthy drink project.
“This has been such a cool activity! Creating the drinks was fun and making them was even better. Me and my partner like most of the same fruits and we both think the final drink is really nice,” Cate said.
Final recipes were also shared in the school newsletter, so families could try the different combinations at home. Julatten State School Year 5/6 teacher and Healthy Eats Coordinator, Jo Warburton was delighted with the student’s enthusiasm for the project.
“This was a great learning activity for the students. They had lots of fun creating their healthy drink recipes, trying different combinations and tasting them at the end.
“Some of the students had never tried fruits such as kiwi and dragon fruit before, so it was fantastic to see them trying new healthy foods,” said Jo.
Find recipe cards to recreate these yummy drinks in The Life Education Hub!
What should I put in my child’s lunchbox today? It’s a question that many parents often ask themselves, and we at Life Education Queensland have some answers!
Through our Healthy Eats program, we discuss healthy eating options with students, focussing on increasing vegetable and fruit consumption.
To assist with packing a healthy lunchbox (and make mornings smoother) we have put together 6 simple lunchbox snack swaps for you to try.
We know that finding heathy lunchbox snacks can be challenging. Many packaged supermarket snacks are high in added sugars, salt and unhealthy fats and low in fibre. By making some simple swaps, we can help children get the nutrients and energy they need to concentrate, learn and play at school. Packing a lunchbox with delicious, nutritious foods also encourages children to develop healthy eating habits that can last well into the future!
Our banana pikelet recipe is a great swap for sweet packaged snacks like cream filled biscuits, cake or chocolate muffins.
This recipe uses naturally sweet ingredients such as banana and cinnamon instead of refined white sugar usually a staple in pikelets.
Swap out cinnamon for your favourite spice or add peanut butter on top for some extra fibre and protein (check if your school allows nuts first). Fresh fruit is great on the side too!
These banana pikelets are a perfect snack on the go when rushing off to school plus they can be easily reheated for an afternoon tea which shouldn’t spoil dinner! Brighten up any lunchbox with these smiling pikelets.
Get this recipe card now on the Life Education Hub!
Meet Sally. Sally is the much-loved school Tuckshop convenor at Mossman State School, about 20mins outside of Port Douglas in Northern Queensland.
Mossman State School is one of 12 schools currently working towards Healthy Eats Accreditation, and Sally has been instrumental in developing the Mossman menu to meet their accreditation goals.
“I was a little hesitant about the new menu at first, and wondered how the kids would react, but it has been great, and the new items have been really popular!” Sally said.
Sally was able to combine her previous restaurant experience with the guidance and inspiration from QAST (Queensland Association of School Tuckshops), to create a fresh and healthy menu that has been a hit with both students and staff.
“We now make most of our menu items like bolognese, chicken and vegie curry and pizzas here in the Tuckshop, using local ingredients. We even use produce from our school garden when it is available.
“We used to have around an 80/20 split in the Tuckshop – 80% red/amber foods and 20% green foods, but we have been able to really improve this and it’s now more like 50/50,” Sally said.
The students themselves have even been keen to get involved in the new look Tuckshop, volunteering to help prepare the salad vegetables and make banana muffins before school each morning.
“We have seen a really positive change in our student’s food choices since we started the Healthy Eats program, which has been great. I have never made so many slinky apples!
“But one of the most surprising things we’ve noticed has been the importance of modelling. It’s been a big factor in changing their purchasing habits. When students see their friends and teachers taking up the healthy choices and getting involved, they tend to try those items as well and generally find they really enjoy them,” Sally said.
Mossman has truly embraced the community concept of the Healthy Eats program and has begun promoting its healthy menu at school events such as the annual book fair.
Parents and students attending the book fair are invited to a ‘Tuckshop Tasting’ throughout the event, where they can try the new Tuckshop menu items free of charge and become familiar with what is available before ordering.
“By showing them what’s available and letting them ‘try before they buy’, we hope that students will choose the healthier options and parents will encourage these choices, especially if they are familiar with them too,” Sally said.
While changing the menu has had a big impact on the choices students are making, Sally said it was not the only thing that has made a difference to students purchasing habits.
“I now make sure all the healthy options are prominently displayed, and that the fruit is placed on the counter instead of being in the fridge. Even these small changes can make a difference to what students choose to buy.”
When asked if she had any advice for other Tuckshops making changes as part of the Healthy Eats program, Sally said they should embrace it.
“There is no harm in making some changes, even if they are only small.
“The Healthy Eats team and QAST have been great resources. There are lots of recipes and inspiration on the QAST website. It is also really helpful to speak with other Tuckshop convenors and find out what they are doing and share ideas – you definitely don’t have to do this alone,” Sally said.
Great News! The Healthy Eats Accreditation program has been successfully rolled out in Queensland primary schools this year with 12 schools signing on to the program and 8 already halfway towards meeting the Accreditation criteria.
If your school is yet to join Life Education Queensland’s Healthy Eats Accreditation program now is the time to sign on!
As part of the Accreditation program schools make the commitment to create a healthier food environment for their students and community, with each school that achieves accreditation receiving a suite of rewards and benefits from Life Education Queensland and partners.
The rewards for schools celebrate this significant achievement and support the continuation of each school’s healthy eating journey.
With 10 Accreditation criteria for schools, the program encourages students and staff to participate in making healthy food choices. The program also supports behavioural changes which lead to sustained healthy food environments, encouraging student and parent collaboration to achieve success.
The Healthy Eats team work in partnership with Queensland primary schools, throughout the year, to create an Accreditation Action Plan to assist with achieving each criterion. Healthy eating resources, activities, lessons and competitions are all part of our commitment to Queensland primary schools and encourage both students and parents to increase vegetable and fruit consumption at school and in their homes.
The Healthy Eats Accreditation program is open to all current Healthy Eats schools.
The amazing effort and commitment shown by Queensland primary schools this year in working towards achieving Accreditation makes us excited about what is to come with more schools choosing to make healthier choices for their students and community.
Find out more about Healthy Eats Accreditation now!
Last term, one of our newest Healthy Eats schools, Bucasia State School really thought outside the “blocks” when promoting healthy food choices to its students!
Drawing on kids love for Lego; Bucasia added a Healthy Eats category to their annual Lego Masters competition, encouraging Year 3 to 6 students to get their creative juices flowing with builds focusing on vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods.
There were multiple entries into the Healthy Eats category and students developed some fantastic creative concepts around the Healthy Eats theme, including a fruit basket being raided by hungry grubs, a giant fruit and vegetable garden and healthy lunchbox options to name a few.
Healthy Eats program coordinator, Mrs. Peltonen was impressed with the ideas students had come up with and how well they were able to build their different concepts!
“Food can be difficult to make with Lego, lots of different shapes and sizes, but the students did so well! It was a great theme to get students thinking about different fruits and vegetables and is another way to reinforce the work we are doing at school with the Healthy Eats program.
“A big thank you must go to Ms. Goodes, who runs the much-loved competition each year and who came up with the Healthy Eats category idea,” said Mrs. Peltonen.
All of the Healthy Eats builds had to be original concepts, built at home over a three-week period and were judged on creativity, construction, visual appeal and the use of additional design features, such as moving parts.
It was a hard decision, picking a winner, but it was the imaginative giant vegetable garden by Year 6 student Danghala, that took out the Lego and Healthy Eats prize pack in the end.