Parents of around 76,000 Queensland school children are using tuckshops to feed their children lunch at least three times per week during the school year.
Finding healthy options when relying on foods and drinks purchased outside of the home is not always easy, which is why tuckshops are crucial in helping establish healthy habits for kids.
Deanne Wooden from the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops says that the role of the school tuckshop has changed significantly in recent years…for the better.
“We have moved past the days when tuckshop was a treat. Children are exposed to junk foods, and advertising for them, everywhere they go. We need to let schools be a place that supports health and nutrition, rather than undermining it,” Ms Wooden said.
“With over one third of kids’ daily energy consumed while at school, tuckshop foods these days need to be nutritious, appealing and affordable.
“When families either don’t have time, or don’t have the ingredients at home to prepare a nutritious lunch for their children, having a healthy tuckshop menu available is not just convenience but a necessity.
Collectively, school tuckshops are one of the state’s biggest catering operations, with around 1,400 tuckshops servicing some 865,000 students across Queensland.
“Data from NSW tells us that around 10 per cent of school students use the tuckshop service two to three times each week,” Ms Wooden said.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the research in Queensland, but if we assume similar tuckshop purchasing patterns it means that up to 76,660 students are accessing tuckshops at least three days a week.
“With childhood overweight and obesity levels still sitting at 25 per cent of the population, and increasing cost of living, it’s never been more important for tuckshops to supply affordable and healthy food and drinks to their student community.”