Recently, Cranbourne Carlisle OSHClub, an Outside School Hours (OSH) program in Melbourne’s outer southeast was part of the Junior Adventures Group (JAG) pilot program that saw 11 of their OSH programs across Victoria join Vic Kids Eat Well as a network.
JAG’s Josie Bolton and Sarah Kosinski were keen to be involved in Vic Kids Eat Well and saw it as a wonderful opportunity to elevate student wellbeing through continued delivery of tasty, healthy food and drink offerings across their OSH programs.
Cranbourne Carlisle OSHClub was one of the first in the group to join the pilot with the support of their local health experts from Monash Health, Christine Pereira and Lauren Clementson.
Cranbourne Carlisle OSHClub decided to 'switch up the snacks' as part of Vic Kids Eat Well and the bite-sized changes that are suggested as part of the initiative. OSHClub Coordinator, Harshini, said they selected some simple changes like offering milk as a drink as well as water and adding cheese to the fruit and veggie platter for afternoon tea.
“We added a delicious berry smoothies, opted for more nutritious wholemeal toast with soups instead of garlic bread and added 50% wholemeal flour and oats to pancakes. We also switched to reduced salt soups,” Harshini said.
Harshini also decided to increase the variety of fruits and veggies offered while also enhancing the children and young peoples’ learning opportunities through cooking by using veggies grown at the centre.
“Pasta dishes have been a popular cooking activity with the children,” Harshini said.
“Many of them had not tried kale before so it was an opportunity to learn about new foods. Some didn’t like kale at first, but after learning about it through the kitchen garden and cooking it, they started to love it in the pasta!
“Parents were very happy to hear that their child/ren were trying new foods and eating more vegetables! Recipes and any leftovers were sent home, along with extra kale from the garden helping to reduce waste.”
Harshini also observed that through cooking adventures at Cranbourne Carlisle OSHClub, the children were developing problem solving and leadership skills by delegating tasks.
Recognising the drive and enthusiasm Harshini displayed through Vic Kids Eat Well, Christine Pereira and Lauren Clementson nominated Cranbourne Carlisle OSHClub for an award in the schools and OSH category at Monash Health’s 2022 Health Promotion Award, which they deservedly won!
As a multicultural centre, Cranbourne Carlisle children, young people and educators regularly sit and talk about foods from different cultures to learn from each other. This promotes a lifelong appreciation for diverse cuisines.
In the OSHClub environment, shared eating experiences enhance the importance of belonging by providing a sense of community and connection among the children and educators.
The team at JAG said they are very excited about promoting the partnership with Vic Kids Eat Well to their school communities and raise awareness for this amazing movement.
Looking to the future, Harshini said: "We will provide more nutritious cooking activities for the children by continuing to grow and harvest more vegetables from the garden. We love giving children healthy, delicious food that they really like to eat.”
Harshini encourages all OSH programs to take part: “Vic Kids Eat Well has been a great opportunity to continue to provide healthy foods that also bring people together and make the children happy.”