Healthy eating on the menu
Did you know that more than 70 per cent of children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables in their day with less than one third eating vegetables every day?
The team at Goodstart Jindi Kindergarten and Extended Care do which is why they have introduced Jamie Oliver’s Learn Your Fruit and Veg to the centre and developed a community garden and pantry.
A hands-on cooking and food education experience aimed at children aged 3-12 years old, the program is all about ensuring children are learning the essentials of food and nutrition. It covers where food is from, how it affects bodies and how it can be cooked.
The centre’s integrated family and service manager Krystal McIntosh said the Jamie Oliver program started at the centre last year and would return this year to teach the kindergarten children all about healthy eating.
“It’s a great program because the children learn all about vegetables and fruit – such as how to identify different produce, how to pick them from the garden, cut them up, and cook them,” Ms McIntosh said.
“And once the children have taken part in their four-hour session, the parents can attend a workshop as well so the good work can continue at home.
“We’ve found that many of the children at the centre don’t have access to plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, so we want to make sure that we can provide it for them here.”
The centre also has a community garden, run by volunteers and growing vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and silver beet.
“Because Goodstart is a not-for-profit organisation, our goal is to ensure all children have the best possible start in life, and we can do this by encouraging them to eat healthy food and look after their bodies and minds,” Ms McIntosh said.
The centre has also recently added a community pantry with products including pasta and soup on offer to parents.
Jindi is an integrated service which operates with a partnership philosophy between the Brotherhood of St Laurence, City of Whittlesea and Goodstart.
The aim of the partnership is to extend the service offering and support to the community to be self-sustaining and ultimately improve outcomes for children and families.