Teacher holding fruit
Lady serving lunch
Family in kitchen
School boy holding apple

Strategies to support a whole-school approach to healthy eating

The School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy should be implemented as part of a whole-school approach to healthy eating.

This involves making healthy eating part of everyday school life, by integrating it into planning and curriculum, developing a supportive culture and environment, and engaging the whole-school community.

A whole-school approach brings together school leadership (principal/s, school council), staff, food services, students, families and the broader community to promote healthy eating. Everyone has a role to play.

Use the suggestions below to start working together with your school community to promote healthy eating.

 

School leadership

School principals and school councils can support a whole-school approach to healthy eating by:

  • providing leadership and support to implement the School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy in all areas of school operations (e.g. school policies, food services, classroom activities, fundraising, special events and sport days)
  • affirming a whole-school approach to healthy eating in school policy and integrating related strategies into school plans to improve health and wellbeing outcomes
  • providing a physical environment, including facilities and equipment that supports healthy eating choices
  • informing and encouraging the school community to be involved in planning, delivery and evaluation of school plans, policies, activities and events that promote healthy eating, and
  • encouraging healthy eating as the ‘norm’ and role modelling healthy eating behaviours and attitudes.

 

School staff

School staff can support a whole-school approach to healthy eating by implementing the following strategies:

  • including healthy eating education in the school curriculum, across learning areas and year levels
  • providing opportunities for students to develop and apply knowledge and skills that promote healthy eating  (e.g. growing foods, budgeting, shopping, food preparation, cooking and trying new foods)
  • leading and assisting with health promotion and healthy eating activities in the school, and
  • encouraging healthy eating as the ‘norm’ and role modelling healthy eating behaviours and attitudes.

 

School food services

School food services can support a whole-school approach to healthy eating via many strategies including:

  • providing foods and drinks in-line with the School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy (e.g. ensuring Green (Everyday) foods and drinks are always available as the main choice when foods and drinks are provided)
  • trialling new Green (Everyday) and culturally diverse foods and drinks and gathering feedback from the school community
  • presenting Green (Everyday) foods and drinks in attractive and appetizing ways, and
  • promoting Green (Everyday) menu items to the school community via posters, noticeboards, school announcements, newsletter articles and on the school website.

 

Students

Students can support a whole-school approach to healthy eating by:

  • being active participants in the school’s healthy eating activities, both in and out of the classroom
  • role modelling positive healthy eating behaviours and attitudes, and
  • getting involved in healthy eating activities at home (e.g. helping the family with budgeting, food shopping and meal preparation).

 

Families

Examples of how families can support a whole-school approach to healthy eating and assist their child to learn and develop healthy eating attitudes, habits and preferences include:

  • role model positive healthy eating attitudes and behaviours
  • involve children in healthy eating activities at home (e.g. budgeting, shopping, meal and lunchbox preparation)
  • provide healthy foods and drinks in lunchboxes (e.g. Green (Everyday) options always as the main choices, Amber (Select Carefully) options limited and in small amounts, Red (Occasionally) options avoided, where possible), and
  • assist the school to plan, deliver and evaluate healthy eating initiatives.

 

Community

Local community and business groups can support a whole-school approach to healthy eating by:

  • food stores surrounding the school restrict the sale of Red (Occasionally) items to school students in and around school hours
  • businesses support the school’s healthy eating activities such as healthy fundraisers by lending the school necessary equipment, human resources and prizes (e.g. non-food items, discount vouchers and services), and
  • community health professionals, services and organisations develop the capacity of the school to promote healthy eating (e.g. by providing health-related information, advice and support).

 

Further information

The health promoting schools framework and supporting resources guides schools through a whole-school approach to promoting the health, wellbeing and engagement of students, including healthy eating.

Further information on creating healthy environments for learning and adopting a whole-school approach to healthy eating is available from the Department of Education and Training, Prevention and Health Promotion website.

 

The Achievement Program health promoting schools approach