Healthy Food Guidelines

Insight supports ‘Healthy Food’ guidelines which encourage a balanced diet and the reserving of special treats for parties and other celebrations. With take away food increasingly popular and many children in the community having poor eating habits, it is important to ensure that nutritious food and drink is available at school. There is little doubt that children’s daily nutrient intake has a significant impact on their growth patterns, energy levels and ability to concentrate on learning tasks.

Some of the risk factors for childhood obesity include:

  • Choosing high fat and sugary foods instead of healthier options – energy dense foods are readily available and aggressively marketed
  • Lack of physical activity – children today tend to be less active than in the past
  • Spending a lot of time on sedentary activities e.g. electronic games, television
  • Family eating patterns – more food is now prepared away from home
  • Genetics – some children are more susceptible to gaining excess weight

Future medical problems associated with poor food choices include diabetes, eating disorders, respiratory disorders and cardiovascular disease. Schools can work toward creating environments supportive of lifelong healthy eating and regular physical activity, both of which contribute to academic success. For this reason we request that students do not bring high fat and sugary foods, soft drinks and sweets to school. Occasional celebrations and birthday parties will be an exception to this rule. Chewing gum and bubble gum is forbidden at school at any time.

We ask that food is sent to school in a lunch box. As we have all observed, children are much less likely to choose the nutritious items if lots of treats are included. Lunches sent to school should be easy for students to manage.

  • Anaphylaxis Management: Some students may be on restricted diets due to food allergens such as wheat, eggs, milk, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts – walnuts, almonds, hazelnut, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts. For this reason we ask that lunches are not shared with friends.
  • Birthdays: Students are welcome to bring a cake or party treats on their birthdays to share with peers who are not on restricted diets. On special occasions such as class parties we ask that students with restricted diets bring their own labelled treats so that they do not miss out. It is advisable to distribute birthday invitations via personal post to ensure that no child feels excluded if they are not invited.

School lunch box

Insight asks parents to communicate their children’s special dietary needs so that we can comply with any restrictions. There are no canteen facilities available at the school, so children need to bring packed recess, lunch, snacks and drinks each day. We encourage students to drink water regularly, and to keep a drink bottle on their desk at all times. It can stay at school and be refilled from drinking taps as needed. Water bottles brought from home should not contain fruit juices or cordial, unless agreed between the family and the class teacher.

Suggestions for school lunch box

The following foods are recommended and encouraged:

 

Before-school snack

Banana

Muesli bar

Wholegrain biscuits with butter/vegemite

Brain Food snacks

Celery/carrot sticks

Plain yogurt with fruit stirred through

Strawberries, apricot, plums etc.

Morning recess

Sandwich (vegemite/cheese filling)

Fresh fruit

Crackers and cheese

Banana or carrot cake

Vegetable sticks with dip (e.g. hummus or capsicum)

Cold boiled egg (peeled)

Rice crackers

Natural or salted popcorn

Lunch

Wholemeal sandwich, roll or wrap, filled pita pocket

Flatbread or pita with dip (e.g. hummus)

Cold meat and salad, cherry tomatoes

Tinned fish (e.g. tuna or salmon)

Fruit (e.g. grapes, apple, plums, apricots)

Insight discourages the use of plastic wraps where possible and encourages the use of labelled lunch boxes and reusable containers. We encourage parents and guardians to spend time with their children showing them what containers they have for their lunch and how to open them independently.