Merewether’s Holy Family Primary School has boosted healthy eating among students through a statewide rewards program and holistic approach to using fresh produce.
The school’s canteen has been participating in the Sydney Markets’ Fresh for Kids program, which promotes eating fresh foods.
The seven-week program encourages students to try new fruit and vegetable items through a trading card reward system, combining healthy eating with the chance to win prizes.
“It’s highlighted the fact that kids can have lots of choices now with food and those choices can be healthy ones,” school principal Sidonie Coffey said.
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“It complements what teachers are promoting in their classrooms with healthy lifestyle, which ties into well being.
“Kids that are well nourished [and] educated well at a young age in terms of making healthy choices, it sets up really good lifestyle choices.”
Much of the fresh produce used comes from the school’s garden beds, which students are responsible for looking after.
The garden provides carrots and lettuce for salads, sandwiches and wraps, while spinach, kale, parsley, basil, carrot tops, beetroot and beetroot leaves are used for pesto, juices and smoothies.
All scraps are then fed to the school’s flock of chickens or composted.
The program has also allowed the canteen to more easily track healthy food consumption.
Year 2 student Leo Wasik said it was important to eat fruit and vege “because it makes you healthy and strong”.
He said his favourite item was pesto with crackers and he had collected all the Fresh for Kids cards and was hoping to win tickets to Taronga Zoo.
Macy McCormack, also in year 2, said she had tried the canteen’s smoothies and liked the mango mix most.
Macy’s older sister, Cass, who is in year 4, said she “liked everything” on the menu and was choosing the items to “stay fit and healthy”.
She thought the most popular item was kiwi-fruit flavoured ice-blocks, made from leftover smoothie mix.