A voice for your kids
At the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) our passion is children’s nutrition. That’s why our vision is healthy tuckshops, healthy schools, healthy children.
On any given weekday, our kids spend just as many waking hours at school as they do at home. Therefore, a healthy school environment is essential to support us in raising healthy, happy children. In fact, a recent study with high school students found that adolescents WANT better strategies to make informed food choices.
So what can we do, as parents, to encourage a healthy environment for our kids at school? Surprisingly, there’s quite a lot!
We can be a powerful voice in asking for healthier school tuckshops. But, it can be hard to know where to start.
These useful resources and tips can empower you to be an advocate for your children.
On this page:
Resources for creating healthy school environments
Ever look at your school tuckshop menu and wish you could make it healthier?
We recommend always talking to the tuckshop convenor first and foremost. Because you never know, maybe they are waiting for you to speak up!
Convenors often serve food that is reflective of their time, resources, equipment, and food supply and availability. However, don’t be afraid to ask about the practicality of introducing new food onto the menu first, and go from there.
The below resources can help you get the conversation started and be a stronger voice for healthier tuckshop menus.
Our recipes are easy to prepare, use simple ingredients and are packed with the nutrients growing kids need. Additionally, we encourage tuckshops to make food on-site, and these recipes create a great starting point.
Healthy snack ideas
It’s important to give children energy between meals, to help them learn and play. Snacks are a great way to get this done. These snack ideas are easy, healthy options for kids while at school.
Gluten-free tuckshop ideas
Advocating for more gluten-free foods in your school tuckshop? This simple fact sheet is a great guide for increasing the offering.
Boosting whole grains
Whole grains can boost kids' energy levels, help improve their focus, and strengthen their immunity, setting them up to be better learners. These simple swaps can be implemented in the tuckshop to boost your kids’ whole grain intake.
Increasing cultural diversity
One of the best ways to teach our children to appreciate cultural diversity is through tasting and cooking foods from around the world. And, the tuckshop is the perfect place to do it.
Caffeine consumption guide
There are no clear guidelines around a safe level of caffeine consumption for children and adolescents. If you want to understand how coffee should be served in a school setting, take a look at this simple fact sheet.
The case for dairy
While most Australian children consume dairy foods, intake decreases as children get older. Therefore, dairy products in school tuckshops are essential, as they are excellent sources of calcium, which is important for strong, healthy bones.
Resources for parents to use at home
As parents we play an important role in teaching our children about good nutrition. Basically, we have the power to help our children make healthy food and drink choices for life.
The below tools will help you tailor your approach.
The Talking Healthier Tuckshops podcast talks all things school tuckshops, family health and wellbeing. It explores topics that matter to you as parents and provides tools, strategies and ideas to implement in your everyday
Our recipes have been developed with kids’ nutrition top of mind. Basically, they're easy to prepare, use simple ingredients and are packed with the nutrients growing kids need. So, why not try them out with your kids at home?
QAST advocates for healthy lunch time meals, whether it be from the tuckshop or from home. Take a look at our How to pack a healthy lunchbox video for tips on what to pack for your kids.
Improving gut health
Good gut health is crucial to a well-functioning immune system. But looking after your gut health doesn’t need to be tricky or expensive. It's simply a matter of feeding your microbiome the right nutrients.
Healthy Nourish Bowls
Stuck on what to give the kids for dinner? A nourish bowl is a well-balanced, healthy meal containing a variety of nutrient dense ingredients, including vegetables, grains, healthy fats, quality proteins and carbohydrates.
Become a community advocate
Join the P&C/P&F
Joining the P&C is a great way to get involved in the community and to safeguard the best interests of your children.
It’s the perfect channel to get your voice heard by the decision makers, and to suggest creative and healthy ways to fund school projects that will benefit everyone.
If you want to know more about how P&Cs work, visit the P&Cs Qld website.
Advocate for healthy school events and fundraisers
School events, like sports days and fundraising activities are another great way to get involved in the school community.
Finding fundraising ideas that are healthy, profitable and easy to coordinate can be a challenge. Take a look at these useful resources for how to plan healthy school events.
Volunteering in the school tuckshop is a great way to get involved. It will broaden your understanding of the way the tuckshop works and the specific needs of the school community.
It will also give you a chance to get to know your school’s tuckshop staff. Tuckshop convenors are some of the most hard-working, resilient and resourceful people you’ll ever meet. Their skills and passion cannot be understated.
Can’t make it into the tuckshop in person? Surprisingly, there are plenty of other ways to get involved and make a difference, including:
- Offering assistance with things like marketing, financial skills, grant writing, developing surveys etc.
- Donating healthy goods to the tuckshop
- Likewise, Homebake is a great alternative.
Tuckshop convenors are always on the look-out for new volunteers. Every contribution matters; no matter how big or small. Contact your local convenor today to see how you can help.
Useful websites for parents
Feel like your tuckshop is doing an amazing job?
Why not nominate them for a job well done? Submit what you’d like to celebrate to firstname.lastname@example.org.