These Tyalla Primary School students can?t wait to dive into their free recess, even though they are made up with all nutritiou
These Tyalla Primary School students can?t wait to dive into their free recess, even though they are made up with all nutritiou

JUST DESSERTS

By ANN-MARIE MAY

Schools take yuck factor out of healthy canteen food

CORN on the cob, quiche, fish burgers, salads, fresh fruit, chicken sticks and a variety of sandwiches. While it may read like a cafe menu, this is what our school children are now being served up at lunch.

Confused? Don't be. With all NSW schools this year having to come in line with the Healthy Canteens Initiative, children have had no choice but to discover nutritious doesn't always equal 'yuck'.

Just ask Tyalla Primary School's Brendan Sawle who recommeds the chicken sticks.

"They're the best. You should try them," he advises.

Classmate Tallara Cutmore agrees by way of a grin, eyeing off the paper bag that awaits her.

And there was no shortage of them yesterday with a a total of 1200 chicken sticks, 70 oranges, 210 bananas, 450 muffins and 450 juice cups served up in a massive free recess.

Receiving a $1500 grant as part of the Healthy Canteen Initiative, Tyalla was able to put on the free recess as well as buy some equipment, plant a herb garden, and provide Year 6 students with cooking classes.

These students then contributed to the feast, cooking up a batch of cheese-and-bacon muffins.

Like many Coffs Coast schools, Tyalla's canteen started changing their way of operating last year, with the then canteen supervisor, Tracy Lane, introducing a new menu to her fussy customers.

"We were a little concerned about what the reaction would be, but the response from the children has been great," Ms Lane said.

The canteen now offers almost exclusively food and drinks that are low in fat, salt and sugar.

As part of the Healthy Canteen Initiative, schools are only allowed to have two 'red' days a term, where such things as lollies can be served.



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