Schools get a tick for healthy canteens

Brisbane Water Secondary college Umina Campus canteen supervisor Michele Parker with student Charli Grant

Secondary school students on the Peninsula are eating healthy, with every government secondary school on the Peninsula having been assessed as meeting standards outlined in the NSW Healthy School Canteens Strategy.

One school which is very aware of healthy eating is Brisbane Water Secondary College Umina Campus.

Principal Kerrie O’Heir said the school had a very active P and C, which ran the canteen and was more than supportive of the compliance needed around healthy food options.

“We are very aware that when you fuel your body with good food you will get the most out of it,” she said.

“As far as learning goes, it is imperative for people, especially in the 12-15 year age group when you are still growing, to eat well to help with concentration, energy levels, positivity and general wellbeing.”

In fact, all 16 government secondary schools in the region have received a tick for health food and drink options from school canteens.

Since the Strategy was introduced in 2017, all NSW Government primary, secondary and central schools with a canteen have been required to have their menu assessed against food and drink criteria.

The Strategy aims to foster a culture of healthy eating in schools by promoting and increasing student access to healthier foods and drinks, while decreasing access to less healthy options.

It seeks to address statistics that more than 1 in 5 (23%) of children aged 5 – 16 are above a healthy weight range.

Central Coast Local Health District said not only did all 16 of the government secondary schools in the region meet the Strategy, 94 per cent of primary schools also made the grade.

“It’s fantastic to see all of our Government secondary school canteens offering high standards of nutrition that can help set children on a pathway to a healthy lifestyle,” Health Promotion Officer, Chad Partridge, said.

“Schools in the region are supported to help meet healthy food and drink criteria by Central Coast Local Health District’s Health Promotion and Nutrition Services.

“The canteen managers have gone to great lengths to ensure their menus meet the criteria set out in the Strategy, and it’s particularly pleasing when we are able to see the support we offer has helped them along the way.”

Under the Strategy, all NSW Government schools are currently required to re-submit their menus for assessment against the criteria every two years, with independent and Catholic schools also encouraged to participate.

“Canteens meeting the Strategy are proud to display their certificate of achievement demonstrating their commitment to the health and wellbeing of students,” Partridge said.

“We are currently working with a handful of Catholic and independent schools on the Coast, and would love to support more of these schools to meet the Strategy.”

Terry Collins