Healthy eating spreads to school’s canteen

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LOLLIES and deep-fried foods have been shown the door at Takitimu Primary School and these days it’s all about fruit kebabs, healthy filled rolls, popcorn and sushi.
The Nightcaps school has made major changes in the past year since pupils, parents and staff decided the food on offer wasn’t up to scratch.
‘‘We realised that rewarding our children with confectionery wasn’t a good thing,’’ principal Lindsay King said.
‘‘It didn’t align with what we were teaching the children in class about healthy eating, nor was it supporting the board of trustees’ vision to support our children’s classroom learning.’’
The school formed a nutrition team of children and adults. They surveyed pupils, revised the school nutrition policy, and ditched unhealthy practices like using lollies as incentives.
‘‘The team also looked at our daily lunch order choices and removed any options that didn’t fit with our new nutrition policy. We also stopped our regular Friday lunchtime meal of fish and chips,’’ Mr King said.
‘‘Working with the local takeaway store has led to a better range of healthy options such as sushi, filled rolls, spaghetti buns and wraps. Deep-fried foods can now only be ordered once a month and sweets are out. Our Parent Teacher Association provides money to teachers so they can purchase non-food reward items.’’
In recognition of its commitment to promoting heart-healthy eating, the school received a Heart Foundation Heart Start award recently.
Health promotion co-ordinator Linda Harris said the school had done ‘‘an amazing job’’ of making sure pupils were eating healthy food, which set them up to learn well in the classroom. For more information about the Heart Start award go to www.learnbyheart.org.nz.

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