The whole of school approach

Healthy Eating

The whole of school approach

The Health Promoting School Framework.

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What is the whole-school approach to the HYP Healthy Eating Mission?

A whole-school approach is the best approach to the HYP Healthy Eating Mission.

The whole-school approach means involving the whole school in influencing school practices, environments and partnerships through a coordinated and comprehensive approach, as described in the Health Promoting Schools Framework.

A whole-school approach helps everyone at school make healthy food the main food.

For best health and wellbeing, young people need a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five 'everyday' food groups, every day:

  1. Vegetable, legumes/beans
  2. Fruit
  3. Grain (cereal) foods (mostly wholegrain)
  4. Lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes/beans
  5. Milk, yoghurt, cheese and their alternatives.

National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013

Tips for a whole-school approach to healthy eating

Below are ways schools can encourage students and staff to make healthy food the main food.

Practices (curriculum, teaching, learning) 

  • Actively promote everyday foods, the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (Healthy Food Plate), which replaces the out-of-date food pyramid.
  • Provide opportunities for student involvement in:
    • decision-making about healthy food options at school
    • planning events and activities that include a focus on tasty and attractive healthy food at school
    • identifying what encourages and discourages healthy food choices at school
    • identifying what encourages and discourages unhealthy food choices at school
    • growing fruit and vegetables at school.

Environment (physical, cultural, policies, procedures)

  • Limit the availability of 'occasional' food and provide easy access to 'everyday' food in the school canteen or equivalent:
  • provide a range of 'everyday' food choices, with a focus on fruit and vegetables; consider involving students in selecting 'everyday' food options, for example undertake a student survey or poll
  • provide a larger choice of 'everyday' food than 'occasional' food
  • limit choices and package/serving sizes of 'occasional' foods
  • make 'everyday' foods more visible (for example, place them at eye-level) than 'occasional' foods.
  • endeavour to make 'everyday' foods cheaper than 'occasional' foods
  • seek advice and accreditation through the Tasmanian School Canteen Association.
  • Limit access to 'occasional' foods in other parts of the school:
    • in vending machines
    • in class cooking activities (focus on 'everyday' food)
    • at school events
    • in the classroom, for example encourage staff to use non-food rewards.
  • Use healthy fundraising options like selling produce from the veggie patch, a walk-a-thon, harvest festival, bulb drive, weekly school lunches or a recipe book.
  • Encourage staff to use language that normalises healthy food as the main food, for example: "remember, at school healthy food is the main food".
  • Ensure the school health and wellbeing policy supports healthy eating at school.
  • Develop guidelines to promote 'everyday' food and discourage 'occasional' food at school. Ensure the following issues are covered by the guidelines:
  • accessibility of 'everyday' and 'occasional' food
  • students eating in class (if eating in class is permitted, consider limiting this to fruit and vegetables)
  • school events.
  • If there is a need, offer a school breakfast club, or open the canteen before school and provide healthy breakfast options.
  • Provide appropriate areas for students to eat outside while socialising.
  • Provide adequate facilities for food storage and preparation. Consider providing a fridge for students to store 'everyday' food that is best kept cold.
  • Provide easy access to 'everyday' food at school events. For example, include vegie kebabs, vegie burgers, corn on the cob, eggplant, zucchini, onion and mushrooms on the barbecue plate at school BBQs.

Partnerships (students, families, wider community, businesses, organisations)

  • Inform parents and carers that healthy food is the preferred food at school. Provide healthy lunchbox ideas in school newsletters.
  • Inform parents/carers about initiatives to make healthy food the main food at school.
  • Inform parents and carers about the Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013.
  • Write to the Parents and Friends Association to seek funding for growing fruit and veggies at school.
  • Seek sponsorship from a local business for growing fruit and veggies at school.
  • At staff meetings, discuss ways to remove or reduce barriers to healthy food at school.
  • Assist staff to be positive role models:
    • arrange a visit from the WorkCover Health and Wellbeing Advisory Service
    • provide information in the staff room about 'everyday' food
    • when providing food for catered staff events, include healthy options
    • provide a cost-recovery fruit bowl in the staff room.