Tuckshops of today opt for ‘brain foods’
GONE are the days of chiko rolls, chicken nuggets and pies - today's typical Queensland tuckshop has sushi and veggie stir-fry on the menu.
As society becomes more health conscious and food trends change, school canteens have undergone a dramatic transformation.
This week a school tuckshop menu from 1974 went viral on social media, and provided a glimpse into what kids of the past were served.
Among the items were pasties, meat pies, buttered rolls, and devon sandwiches along with a multitude of sweet treats including five different types of doughnuts, cream buns, finger buns, chocolate eclairs, lamingtons, custard tarts and apple pies.
But the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops executive services manager Chris Ogden said you would struggle to find a school canteen selling similar fare today, due to new health policies and food fashions.
"Pretty much everything around food began to change since programs like MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules became popular," Ms Ogden said.
"They really made cooking a little bit sexier, and that spread into tuckshops too, so there has been a distinct shift away from the traditional pies, sausage rolls and cream buns.
"Smart Choices has also made a big difference - there are things which schools can no longer have on their menus."
Ms Ogden said the vast majority of schools comply with the Smart Choices "green, amber, red" system, which rates the healthiness of food, with a recent QAST survey finding more than two thirds had menus which consisted of mainly "green" food.
"In the past, snacks like potato chips or biscuits would have been the most popular items. Now it's things like fruit or dairy and cheese snacks," she said.
"Most schools experiment with things like curries and stir fries, with sushi one of the most popular menu items across the state.
"There are very few schools which don't serve sushi - it's healthy and it's something nearly all the kids love."
At West End State School, tuckshop co-convenors Helen Goupis and Chrissa Argyris, who have been in the role for 19 years, have witnessed many changes. Now the majority of food is homemade, with a full sandwich bar, gourmet salads, sushi and healthy wraps on the menu.
More than 80 per cent of orders are also placed online and now they can serve as many as 300 pupils per day.
TOP QUEENSLAND TUCKSHOPS
Bli Bli State School
Cavendish Road State High School
Coombabah State High School
Coombabah State Primary School
Currajong State School
Hervey Bay Special School
Mooloolaba State School
Tallebudgera State School
Wellers Hill State School
West End State School
*For 2018, awarded by Queensland Association of School Tuckshops