The North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) team has been working with schools and early childhood settings in the City of Yarra to deliver hands on, practical nutrition sessions to build food literacy.
While delivering the Vic Kids Eat Well program in schools, the NRCH team identified a common need in schools and early years settings to build students, parents and carers knowledge and skills to prepare and consume fun and nutritious food. This need was also highlighted by the Student Wellbeing Coordinators amongst many of the schools.
The NRCH Health Promotion team and NRCH Dietitian combined forces to address this need. This collaborative approach included meeting with Student Wellbeing Coordinators to identify the most beneficial approach for their community. After consultations were completed, the decision to provide nutrition sessions was found to be the most suitable option. The sessions were co-designed with a fun, interactive, and light format to deliver key nutrition messages to students, parents and carers at different schools within the community.
To date, the team have delivered five nutrition sessions in schools with great success. Out of 50 students surveyed, 85 per cent reported that they know more about sugary drinks after attending, 80 per cent learned something new about fruits and vegetables, and 90 per cent correctly arranged foods from most to least fibrous! A successful start to the project!
Some unexpected and surprising feedback from the students was received during the sessions. For example, one of the students said it was his first time trying a cherry tomato, and it tasted great! A family advised that they gained plenty of knowledge about fibres and economic ways to incorporate what they had learned into their meal preparations.
These results have encouraged the NRCH health promotion team to continue the project, with plans to roll out nutrition education sessions in early years settings over the next year. Based on feedback, one activity in the sessions is now focused on preparing nutritious meals on a budget.
NRCH encourage organisations working with schools or early years settings to consider delivering these types of sessions. Especially if these schools are in areas with newly arrived families and that do not have canteens onsite.