Campbellfield Heights Primary School adds crunch to canteen with Vic Kids Eat Well

Tuesday 1 August, 2023

Campbellfield Heights Primary School has added colourful and tasty items to its canteen as part of the state-wide Vic Kids Eat Well movement. The school has joined Vic Kids Eat Well with their principal Susie Bellizia wanting to further support student wellbeing.

Two Campbellfield Heights students holding fresh fruit and vegetables

Located in the City of Hume and surrounded by Merri Creek and Sydney Road, the school has just 150 students.

“We see our canteen as an opportunity for students to access delicious, healthy food and drink options so they can eat and feel well at school while they’re enjoying learning and playing,” Mrs Bellizia said.

Vic Kids Eat Well, a free initiative, supports schools, outside school hours care, sports clubs and community organisations across the state to boost the nourishing canteen or lunch order options they offer kids.

Campbellfield Heights Primary School has benefited from local health promotion support from DPV Health as they progress through the simple changes suggested by the Vic Kids Eat Well initiative.

Mrs Jess Nahas is the school’s longstanding Canteen Manager. She’s also a parent at the school who loves cooking.

Mrs Jess Nahas at the school canteen

“Our canteen is very popular. We process about 70 lunch orders on days we’re open, so that’s about 50% of our students eating tasty and healthy options offered through our canteen,” Mrs Nahas said.

“As a school we’d upgraded our food and drink environment policy but didn’t have boots on the ground to make the changes. Adele Chenoweth, our local health promoter at DPV Health, has been very supportive. She reached out to me and helped us navigate our canteen improvements as part of Vic Kids Eat Well,” she said.

Principal Bellizia said: “One of our students asked for a salad option to be added to the menu and Jess made it happen. Jess buys produce from the supermarket on the day and makes the salad fresh. We now have a shredded chicken salad with crunchy lettuce, cucumber, carrot, tomato and optional avocado and lemon dressing. It’s so popular that our staff buy it too,” she said.

“We’ve done simple things like offer fresh salad wraps for students who want to try something other than a bread roll – this was based on student feedback. Our new baked chicken burgers are bestsellers too. They feature lite cheese, lettuce and the option to add fresh tomato. We also offer students free whole fruit and sell popcorn and packaged fruit cups,” Mrs Nahas said.

“We’ve been able to showcase our nutritious menu to families who can easily pre-order online, knowing their kids have freshly-made options at school,” Mrs Nahas said.

Mrs Bellizia said: “The changes we’ve made as part of Vic Kids Eat Well, have made us eligible for rewards. We received a digital recipe book and vouchers that we’ll use to upgrade some utensils in our canteen’s kitchen. We also plan to use the vouchers to purchase some fresh fruit and vegetables along with frozen items for the canteen.”

Adele Chenoweth, Senior Health Promotion Coordinator at DPV Health said Campbellfield Heights Primary School has been highly engaged in Vic Kids Eat Well.

“We’ve focused on easy wins with Vic Kids Eat Well by adding crunchy, fresh veggies to the school’s canteen offerings. I love that they’ve had student input into the canteen changes. Their canteen manager Jess has been really eager and their principal embraces opportunities to boost what’s on offer for her students,” Ms Chenoweth said.

Dr Tope Adepoyibi, Head of Vic Kids Eat Well at Cancer Council Victoria, congratulated Campbellfield Heights Primary School and DPV Health for their commitment to boosting kids’ health and wellbeing through making changes as part of Vic Kids Eat Well’s four simple action areas.

“It’s fantastic to see these kids accessing fresh and delicious food and drink options while they’re at school. Campbellfield Heights Primary School and DPV Health should be commended, as we know that eating well helps kids’ concentration and improves their mood,” Dr Adepoyibi said.

“Working with local health promotion experts, schools all over Victoria are supported to take small steps at their own pace, and celebrate milestones along the way. Our free initiative harnesses the power of community to help grow the next generation of happy, healthy kids.”

Vic Kids Eat Well is supported by the Victorian Government and delivered by Cancer Council Victoria’s Achievement Program, in partnership with Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Advisory Service.

Join Vic Kids Eat Well for free.