Visit our information hub for ways to promote healthy eating in your organisation during coronavirus.

Promoting healthy eating in schools during coronavirus

As schools reopen, they may be dealing with new challenges and requirements to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

On this page we have provided advice on ways that your school can continue promoting healthy eating at this time.

In fact, it’s more important than ever to ensure your staff, students and families eat well, as it can help support good mental health, and a healthy immune system. It can also ensure they get the right fuel for their concentration and performance. Read more about the link between food, mood and learning.

You can also contact us with any questions. Email heas@nutritionaustralia.org, or call us on 1300 22 52 88.

 

Implementing the School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy

Whether or not your school canteen is fully operational at this time, there are many ways you can continue to working on having healthier foods and drinks.

Remember, there is no one perfect way to do it. If you’re currently unable to progress in one area, see if you can work on one of these things in the meantime:
 

Develop a healthy eating policy

Review your schools’ current health and wellbeing policies to identify where you could include requirements for providing healthy foods and drinks in the canteen, through fundraising activities, and in the classroom.

Use our healthy eating and oral health policy template as a guide (opens a PDF).
 

Assess your current canteen menu

You can still assess the foods and drinks supplied in your canteen using FoodChecker.

You will need to assess the foods and drinks that are available on a normal day, so it’s best if you already have information about every recipe and packaged product that is typically provided. You can always start an assessment and add items later. 
 

Plan healthier options

You can start planning the changes you want to make to your canteen menu. 

Browse our website for some healthy food and drinks ideas and recipes, and find GREEN and AMBER branded products on FoodChecker.

You could also plan new recipes that include seasonal produce. This will add variety to your menu, and can be more affordable.
 

Do our free online training

Learn how to provide healthy foods and drinks in your school with our free online training
You will learn:

  • about the School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy and how it applies to your school
  • how to review your menu and classify foods and drinks using FoodChecker
  • simple ways to make recipes and menus healthier
  • dealing with challenges such as time and costs
  • getting the whole school community involved.
     

Talk to us

We are still here to help you promote healthy eating in your school. 

Email heas@nutritionaustralia.org, or call us on 1300 22 52 88 (someone will take your details, and one of our friendly staff will call you back).

 

Promoting healthy eating in the curriculum

We have a collection of engaging resources and websites to develop students’ knowledge and skills around food and nutrition, in line with the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum, Foundation – Year 10.

Topics include classroom resources, programs, CALD resources, healthy lunchbox ideas and reliable health sites.

View healthy eating curriculum resources.

 

Advice for staff, students and families

Here are few ways that you can support your staff, students and their families to eat well at this time,

A nutritious and balanced diet includes:

  • enjoying a balance of foods from the five food groups:
    • fruits
    • vegetables and legumes
    • grain foods 
    • milk, yoghurt, cheese (and alternatives)
    • lean meats (and alternatives)
  • limiting foods and drinks that are high in added fats, sugar and salt.

Read more about the Healthy Eating Pyramid by Nutrition Australia, and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.
 

  • Encourage staff and families to buy, prepare and consume nutritious food and drinks while at home, by sharing advice and links via your school newsletter, website or other communication channels.
     
  • Share tips on how to eat well during the school day, such as:
    • Start your day with a balanced breakfast that includes some wholegrains or high fibre grains, some milk, yoghurt or cheese, and a fruit or vegetable.
      For example, that could be yoghurt with muesli and fruit, an egg on toast with avocado, or toast with grilled cheese with tomato. 
    • Prepare some meals in bulk, so you’ll have something nutritious and convenient on hand when you need it. It may help to cook and freeze meals on the weekend or make extra dinner to keep for tomorrow. Soups and casserole/stew type meals work well, and they are a great way to include and use up excess vegetables.
    • Pack a healthy lunchbox for students that includes at least one item from each food group, plus water. Here are our healthy meal and snack ideas for lunchboxes.
    • For dinner, aim to make half the meal vegetables, with some lean meat (or alterative) and some grain foods like rice, pasta or quinoa (or another carbohydrate like potato).
    • If getting food via take away or delivery, look for options that contain vegetables, and which are lower in fat, sugar and salt such as stir-fries with lots of vegetables and lean protein.
    • Involve children and teenagers in preparing meals and snacks. Not only is it an important life skill, but it can also foster skills in other areas like maths, science, and reading.
       
  • Share meal and recipe ideas, and advice on buying and using food over a week. Here are a few sites we have selected: