Food and nutrition focus at Warragul Sutton Street
Cooking classes, “munch and move” sessions, food seminars, and a community garden are just some of the nutrition themed initiatives rolling out across Goodstart Warragul Sutton Street.
When centre director Elissa Wuoti noticed the children weren’t interested in a wide variety of foods and parents told her that they were struggling with offering healthy choices at home, she worked with her local community to devise a plan to help families.
“I contacted West Gippsland Hospital and worked with them on a program for parents and children focussed on nutrition and health,” she said.
Called Munch and Move, the program uses the expertise of the hospital’s dieticians and occupational therapists and includes sessions for both parents and children.
“The program consists of a six week incursion program where the dieticians and occupational therapists do games and activities with the children designed to help them move their bodies,” Ms Wuoti said.
“They also hold cooking classes with the children, along with fun information sessions about the benefits of healthy eating.”
At the beginning and end of the six week program parents are invited to the hospital for an information session with the dieticians and occupational therapists.
In these sessions they gain valuable information about nutrition, serving sizes, healthy eating benefits, and diet and menu ideas.
They also have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with dieticians and occupational therapists about their families’ specific nutrition struggles.
“On the nights where the parents are at the information sessions we will hold movie nights for the children within the centre,” Ms Wuoti said.
Helping to solidify the healthy living and nutrition message, the centre children also regularly visit a local community garden.
“The children learn all about where food comes from and how to care for the garden, which is also home to some beehives, so they have learned all about bees and honey as well,” Ms Wuoti said.
The children also grow their own plants and herbs in straw bales within the centre and have recently adopted some chickens from a local egg farm.
“We have also developed a Foodbank program with Coles and Woolworths where they provide bread and other long life products to families, and our centre cook provides recipe cards to help inspire families in the kitchen,” she said.
“Being part of our local community has given Goodstart Warragul Sutton Street the opportunity to identify community initiatives and adapt them to help support our families.”