Healthy food healthy future

Sunday 1 July, 2018

Boy and girl gardening

Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Rowville joined the Achievement Program to make positive changes and influence the health of children and their families now and into the future.

Director of the service Courtney Silver said, “If we embed healthy eating practices at such a young age it becomes part of their daily life, which in turn prevents chronic disease in later years.”

The service joined the Achievement Program in January 2017. Their first focus is the healthy eating and oral health priority area.

Goodstart Early Learning, Rowville used Achievement Program resources and accessed support from the Healthy Eating Advisory Service to improve their food menu. This involved using the menu planning guidelines to review their current food offering and discuss healthy changes with their community.

As a result, they have improved the nutritional content of the food they offer, which has been embraced by the children and families. Establishing healthy food habits will provide mental health and wellbeing benefits now and in the future.

Reviewing their menu has also paid dividends. Not only have children enjoyed the new healthy options, they have also saved money in the process.

Goodstart Early Learning Rowville has shared their top tips to help other early childhood services improve their menu:

1. Rotate your menu items every five weeks

2. Bulk buy ingredients if items are on special

3. Take the time to compare prices to find the cheapest option

4. Buy whole pieces of meat instead of smaller or pre diced options

5. Plan ahead to take advantage of free delivery where available (this has saved the centre $14 to $16 per week)

6. For some items like yoghurt, it’s worth purchasing individual portions to reduce wastage

7. Create your own veggie and herb patch. This allows the children to get involved and educates them about where food comes from.

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