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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine
HELPING FAMILIES GET
HEALTHY TO CUT
Catholic schools are joining Cancer Council
NSW in a family-friendly nutrition program
designed to combat alarmingly low levels of
fruit and vegetable intake and cut
Eat It To Beat It is a practical community-
based progr am that aims to increase the
amount of fruit and vegetables consumed
by families with primary school-aged
It provides free sessions and workshops for
parents, helping them to understand why
fruit and vegetables are so impor tant and
giving them ideas and inspiration to get the
whole family eating more.
The program, piloted in the Hunter Region
in 2008 and expanded to other par ts of
NSW in 2013, works with both public
and private schools, including 25 Catholic
schools in the Maitland-Newcastle and
Broken Bay dioceses.
In the Hunter, 90 per cent of adults don’t
eat enough vegetables, while 50 per cent
don’t eat enough fruit.
Cancer Council-commissioned research
shows that up to 4 per cent of all cancers
could be prevented if people ate more fruit,
vegetables and fibre.
Eat It To Beat It is based on the latest
scientific evidence around healthy eating
and the benefits of fruit and vegetables.
The program works with schools to
Nutrition Snippets for newsletters
showcasing healthy recipes and ideas for
Healthy Lunch Box sessions for
kindergar ten orientation programs,
providing healthy lunch box advice for
parents and a show bag of goodies.
Fruit & Veg Sense sessions for parents
who want to know more, showing how to
save time and money, make healthy meals
and snacks the whole family will enjoy, and
clever ways to entice fussy eaters.
Eat It To Beat It has built great relationships
with many diocesan schools and is
St Joseph’s Primary School, Merriwa and St
James’ Primar y School, Muswellbrook, have
worked with Eat It To Beat It for the past
four year s.
St Aloysius Catholic Primar y School
Chisholm, the newest Catholic school in the
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, has already
come on board.
“ It’s good if you can build good habits right
from day one,” Principal Suzanne Fern said.
“ Even looking at the lunch boxes our
children bring now, there’s still a lot of
packaged food in it, so we still have a lot of
work to do.
thought that’s exactly what we needed.”
Mrs Fern said the program came with great
resources, and it was helpful to have people
other than teachers deliver the healthy
eating message to parents.
“ Research is telling us as adults we should be
eating less sugar and processed foods, yet
we’re still seeing a lot of that in the lunch
Mrs Fern said what children ate in the
playground had an effect on concentration
levels in the classroom.
Cancer Council Hunter Central Coast
Region Nutrition Project Officer, Nayerra
Hudson, said the lunch box was a great
place to introduce healthy habits.
A healthy diet included five ser ves of
vegetables and two ser ves of fruit ever y day.
“ Including fruit and vegetables in their child’s
lunch is one way parents can ensure kids get
the nutrients they need ever y day,” she said.
“ It’s vir tually impossible to get the right
amount of vegies in your diet if you leave it
all to dinner time.
“ School children eat more than 2,500
lunches in their 13 years in the playground.
We see that as 2,500 opportunities for
them to nourish their growing bodies by
including fruit and vegies.
“ By packing fruit and veg every day, we
can make healthy eating a normal par t of
children’s diets, giving them the energy they
need to get through a school day.”
Ms Hudson said the program helped
parents navigate the of ten confusing world
of lunch box snacks.
“ We also recommend people look for fruit
and veg in season, avoid packaged foods,
buy in bulk and look out for marked-down
fruit and vegetables.”
Eat It To Beat It also offers great online
resources such as simple healthy recipes,
and free tools including meal planners and
behaviour reward char ts.
For more healthy eating tips, recipes
and lunch box ideas visit facebook.com /
eatittobeatit. To book a workshop for
your school, go to eatittobeatit.com.au or
phone 4923 0710.
• Cut up vegie sticks (carrot , celer y) at the beginning of the
week to easily add to lunch boxes each day.
• Cut fruit into small pieces, or add stewed (apple, pear)
• Bake vegie /fruit muffins (carrot, zucchini, banana) as a treat.
• Spread avocado on sandwiches instead of butter.
• Include left-over vegies in lunch boxes.
• Prepare lunches the night before to save time.
• Include a bottle of water instead of fruit juice.
• Avoid packaged foods.
• Include your children and get them to choose from healthy
choice foods they would like in the lunch box.
Mollie Beaven of St Joseph’s Merriwa has the ‘Eat It To Beat It’ message.
Eat It To Beat It lunch box tips
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