What we do

Our Vision

Healthy food and drinks are the norm where Victorians live, learn, work and play

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[Text displayed on screen] We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our children grow, learn and play, the Wadawurrung People of the Kulin Nation. We Pay our respects to Elders past, present and future, as they hold the memories, traditions, Culture and hopes for all people across our Country. Perridak Burron Early Learning.
[Text displayed on screen] Inspiring oral health and healthy eating habits for lifelong wellbeing.
[Sophie Collins, Centre Director, Perridak Burron Early Learning] [00:00:10] We opened in February 2021 and are owned and operated by Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative. We’re a not for profit long daycare centre that provides a culturally rich and safe place for the children and families of Ballarat.
[Text displayed on screen] Sophie Collins, Centre Director, Perridak Burron Early Learning.
We collaborate with the families in the community, embedding Aboriginal perspectives into the learning environment. We provide an instructive learning environment inspired by nature, and we endorse health, wellbeing and nutrition.
[Demelza Diacogiorgis, Health Promotion Officer, Ballarat Community Health] [00:00:36] Smiles 4 Miles is an oral health promotion initiative of dental health services Victoria, and works in partnership with local community health organizations such as Ballarat Community Health, to improve the oral health of preschool aged children, their families, educators and the broader community.
Smiles 4 Miles recognises early childhood education and care services for their dedication and commitment to improving oral health. The program promotes three simple key messages: Drink well, Eat well, and Clean well and helps to set children and families up with good oral health and healthy eating habits for life.
[Text displayed on screen] Demelza Diacogiorgis, Health Promotion Officer, Ballarat Community Health.
As a Smiles 4 Miles coordinator, my role is to engage with and build relationships with local early childhood education and care services. I provided training and support to Perridak Burron to work through the criteria of the award program. As part of this, we access the Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s FoodChecker to assess and improve food and drink provision to help them achieve the Smiles 4 Miles award.
[Sophie Collins, Centre Director, Perridak Burron Early Learning] [00:01:38] It takes a whole team approach. We involved not only our management team and centre cook, but all educators in the process. We recognized along the way there would need to be some changes made to our menu and practices, and we embrace this opportunity to learn and grow as a team.
We prioritise creating and perfecting a healthy eating and oral health policy, and we consistently seek feedback from families, children and educators on the food provided at our centre. Our educators are always creating beautiful invitations of learning for the children to engage in food, nutrition, and oral health activities.
We have authentic looking vegetables in our home corner, a sort and match Bush Tucker game in our numeracy area, and plan to involve the children in the care and maintenance of our upcoming Bush Tucker Garden. The children will work with our chef on including ingredients from the garden into our daily and weekly menus.
[Bridget Buttacavoli, Early Childhood Teacher and Education Leader, Perridak Burron Early Learning] [00:02:29] Within the Parrwang room we offer water only, and ensure the children are having regular drinks throughout the day, and during and after meals to help prevent tooth decay and promote healthy digestion. We encourage the children to bring in a drink bottle from home, and we talk about drinks that promote great oral health and nutrition.
The children are given the tools to serve their own meals, which gives them more of an understanding of the foods they are choosing. When we have meals such as salad sandwiches, we allow the children to make their own, so that they can choose ingredients and engage in rich discussion about healthy choices.
[Text displayed on screen] Bridget Buttacavoli, Early Childhood Teacher and Education Leader, Perridak Burron Early Learning.
Recipes are added to our centre newsletter so that families can cook at home. Even though we provide meals here, we also distribute information about what a healthy lunchbox looks like to help prepare children for school.
The children love the mouth puppet, which we use during group times, to show them how to clean their teeth properly. To support this, toothbrushes and toothpaste have been sent home with our families as a Clean well initiative.
[Sophie Collins, Centre Director, Perridak Burron Early Learning] [00:03:27] Some of the changes we needed to make in the kitchen were as simple as increasing servings of vegetables or meat, whereas others were about identifying how to increase or maintain flavour whilst being mindful of the seasonings we used. The Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s FoodChecker was super helpful in identifying our menu strengths and areas for improvement.
[Text displayed on screen] Kim Bertram, Centre Cook, Perridak Burron Early Learning.
[Kim Bertram, Centre Cook, Perridak Burron Early Learning] [00:03:47] As the cook, I use the Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s resources for information on food, nutrition and balancing meals. The website contains easy to understand information about meeting the long daycare guidelines and tools for menu planning.
We have feedback forms that go to each room daily so that we can evaluate how the meal was enjoyed and if the portions were enough. This in turn gets relayed to parents and ensures educators, families and children are involved in the meal planning and evaluation process.
We also have our weekly menu displayed outside the kitchen so that everyone knows what is coming up. The children love the chicken curry and the pumpkin and spinach pasta. We also bake banana and chia muffins which are always popular.
[Sophie Collins, Centre Director, Perridak Burron Early Learning] [00:04:34] There are lots of free resources available. We have utilised resources from the Smiles 4 Miles website, including learning activities demonstrating the Eat well, Drink well, Clean well messages.
In conjunction, the Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s FoodChecker helped us to complete our menu assessment. We also took inspiration from some of the recipe examples on their website.
We would encourage any centre looking to promote healthy eating and oral health to start the journey. The support we have received has been wonderful and the outcomes for our children, families and wider centre community has been invaluable.
[Text displayed on screen]Thank you. Footer: Perridak Burron Early Learning. Ballarat Community Health.
[Text displayed on screen]This case study was proudly supported by: Dental Health Services Victoria. Nutrition Australia. Healthy Eating Advisory Service. Victoria, State Government. Smiles 4 Miles.

Our Mission

To provide effective, innovative and evidence-informed support to organisations and to enable systems change to create healthier food environments

We believe that every Victorian should have access to healthier foods and drinks.

Since 2012, the Healthy Eating Advisory Service has supported organisations across Victoria to promote healthier foods and drinks and meet government food and drink policies and guidelines. We want to ensure that healthier food and drink options are ‘the norm, not the exception.  

Our team comes to work each day inspired to positively contribute to the health and wellbeing of all Victorians by increasing the supply and promotion of healthier food and drinks.  

Staff member smiling with plate of food

We strive to...

  • Increase the reach of our services enabling organisations to implement and maintain healthy food environments

  • Strengthen our support through training, coaching, tools and resources to enable organisations to successfully create healthier food environments

  • Partner and collaborate for effective implementation health eating initiatives

  • Demonstrate impact through regular monitoring and evaluation processes

Who we support

We’re here to support Victorian organisations to lead change across their community and implement food and drink supply policies and guidelines that promote health.  

We support:

  • Early childhood education and care services – long day care, family day care, kindergarten
  • Outside school hours care services
  • Schools and Tertiary Education
  • Health services – hospitals, residential aged care and integrated community health services
  • Sport and recreation facilities
  • Sports clubs
  • Community and council-run facilities
  • Other workplaces
  • Retail food industry and suppliers

Delivering on Government priorities

Our work directly contributes to the Victorian Government’s strategic vision of “Better health and wellbeing for all Victorians”.

This is reflected in the following key public health plans:

Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023 
Healthy kids, healthy futures five-year action plan 
Victorian cancer plan 2020-2024 

Our support is organisation wide

We know the most effective and sustained changes occur when there’s a concerted effort across the entire organisation. We support everyone in an organisation involved in providing and promoting healthier food and drinks.

This includes:

  • Leadership and management
  • Health promotion and nutrition professionals
  • Canteen and food service
  • Retail food industry and suppliers

Ready to get started?

Find out more about the support we can provide.

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service is delivered by Nutrition Australia Vic Division, with support from the Victorian Government.