Wednesday, 18 September, 2013 - 00:00

Schools and Healthy Kids

Schools can do a lot to promote and encourage healthy eating and physical activity for their students. This can happen at a whole-of-school level or in individual classrooms.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Ensure that the food the school provides in the canteen and during school activities are nutritious and low in added sugar, salt and saturated fat.

  • Develop a healthy lunchbox policy to promote the importance of eating a nutritious lunch and snacks.

  • Schedule a fruit, vegetable and water break during the day to encourage students to eat fruit and vegetables and drink water.
  • Include ‘energisers’ during class time to encourage children to get moving.
  • Create activity boxes with a variety of physical activity equipment that classes or individual children can use during recess or lunch breaks.
  • Develop homework activities based on the Personal Development Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) curriculum that encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables, prepare healthy snacks, drink water instead of sweetened drinks and switch off the TV and computer and be more active.
  • Establish a school vegetable garden and involve students in all aspects of growing and nurturing the produce – they’ll quickly get enthusiastic! Vegies from the garden can be used in food preparation lessons or provided to the school canteen.
  • Include regular articles promoting physical activity and healthy eating in the school newsletter and includes links to the Healthy Kids website so parents and children can find more information.
  • Develop a school orientation package for parents on healthy eating (with a focus on healthy snacks, lunches and drinking water) and activity ideas for children starting school. Highlight the many ways that the school supports healthy eating and physical activity and invite parents to be involved.
  • Encourage and support opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating in the after-school period, especially through Out Of School Hours Care programs.
  • Work with parent associations and student representative councils to hold healthy fundraising activities, such as fun runs, dances or a ‘fruit and vegie drive’. They can be great alternatives to selling chocolate bars and other less healthy foods.
  • Promote walking as a form of transport. Where possible, encourage parents to walk to school (or even part of the way) with their children.
  • Get involved with community and sporting organisations to arrange sports and skill development sessions so children can participate in a range of different physical activities.
  • Encourage students to have a water bottle on their desks and drink water throughout the day.