Thriving veggie gardens and a tuckshop menu that is delicious … and healthy, are just two of the exciting milestones achieved at Loganholme State School, one year after they adopted Life Ed Queensland’s Healthy Eats program.
The school joined the award-winning nutrition program last November after teachers noticed many student lunch boxes were not as healthy as they could be.
It was the start of an inspiring journey that has seen the whole school community – teachers, students and parents – enthusiastically embrace healthier eating choices that encourage children to eat more vegetables and fruit.
Life Ed Queensland nutritionist and community development officer, Jaclyn Coffey worked closely with the school to implement a range of innovative, fun and engaging activities as part of the Healthy Eats School Toolkit.
The school now has a healthy food and drink policy and an enthusiastic student leadership team. The senior students encourage younger students to eat their two and five, distribute Woolworths fruit and vegetable donations before school, and support garden club activities and tuckshop tasting days.
Loganholme State School teachers, support staff and the leadership team took part in a Healthy Eats professional development session. The session outlines the evidence underpinning the program and the importance of role modelling good food choices during classroom brain breaks.
Program partner Bunnings donated gardening equipment and a range of vegetables and flowers including snow peas, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, silverbeet, rhurbarb and herbs. The veggie gardens have flourished in a short space of time.
In fact, Loganholme’s healthy eating journey has been so successful, they’ve already achieved Healthy Eats accreditation, becoming the first school in South East Queensland to reach the milestone, after working hard to implement ten core program initiatives.
“Loganholme is a great example of how Healthy Eats can change mindsets and habits,” Ms Coffey said.
“It’s been so exciting to empower the school community to embed activities that are making a big difference to children’s health.”
In collaboration with Healthy Eats and the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST), the school tuckshop convenors developed a new Smart Choices compliant menu.
Smart Choices is the Department of Education’s Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools. The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops uses the framework to help tuckshops make healthy changes to their menu.
After seeking input from parents and launching popular tuckshop tasting days and Healthy Eats ‘Frankie Fresh’ meal deals, the new menu was unveiled in Term 4. It was awarded a five-star healthy food rating by QAST.
This is the highest rating and means it’s ‘an outstanding menu’ that well exceeds the minimum requirements for consistency within the Smart Choices guidelines – featuring 75% or more green food items rated as healthy, and no red food items such as baked goods, deep fried food and confectionary. Compared to the previous menu health check rating of only one star, this is a great achievement!
The tuckshop uses produce from the school veggie garden in lunchtime salads, and students are lining up for snacks like apple slinkies and frozen pineapple hula-hoops.
Year 6 student Maddison loves the new menu and says eating healthy fuels her passion for dance.
“Before, there were lots of unhealthy foods like hotdogs but now there are salads, and a lot more fruit. I like the frozen yoghurt bars,” she said.
Year 5 student Kruiz enjoys watering, nurturing and picking the school’s veggie crop, but has also turned into a green thumb at home.
“I’m growing my own garden now because the Healthy Eats program has inspired me to, and I’m eating healthier recipes. We are growing strawberries, carrots and bananas,” he said.
Deputy principal Renee Child says Healthy Eats has had a positive impact on the whole school food environment and children’s physical, social and emotional health.
“The teachers have noticed that there’s been a lot more settled behaviour within the classrooms, which is great,” Ms Child said. “And obviously, the more settled students are, the more focused they are.”
The school has plans to establish another veggie garden for senior students.
Well done Loganholme State School. You are amazing Healthy Eats role models!