Campbellfield Heights Primary School adds crunch to canteen with Vic Kids Eat Well

Thursday 3 August, 2023

Two kids from Campbellfield Heights Primary School holding a basket of vegetables and a soccer ball

Campbellfield Heights Primary School is surrounded by the beautiful Merri Creek, the bustling Sydney Road and by industry. Located 15 kilometers from Melbourne, they have approximately 150 students from Foundation Level to Year 6.  

For this small suburban primary school, an initiative like Vic Kids Eat Well is a terrific help. According to the school principal, Susie Bellizia, the school joined Vic Kids Eat Well for support because student wellbeing is at the core of everything they do.

“We have a strong community feel because we’re located in a unique pocket. We’re proudly a multicultural school as many of our students have English as an additional language, contributing to our rich cultural tapestry. The equity funding we receive helps fund programs like our breakfast club," Mrs Bellizia said.

A teacher helping children with work

“Our canteen plays a big role in supporting families. For example, we open our canteen on Mondays and Fridays because families are busy on the weekend, and we can help with lunches at the start of the week. Then by Friday, families are ready to replenish their fresh food.

“We see our canteen as an opportunity for students to access delicious, healthy food and drink options so they can eat and feel well at school while they’re enjoying learning and playing.

“Health and wellbeing are also linked to the curriculum we teach students. We have a unit on healthy eating which looks at the fruits and vegetables we put into our body to help us grow,” Mrs Bellizia said.

Mrs Jess Nahas is the school’s longstanding Canteen Manager. She runs the breakfast club, which receives support from Foodbank. She’s also a parent at the school, who loves cooking.

“Our canteen is very popular. We process about 70 lunch orders on days we’re open, so that’s about 50% of our students eating tasty and healthy options offered through our canteen,” Mrs Nahas said.

Two kids being served by a lady at a healthy looking canteen

“As a school we’d upgraded our food and drink environment policy but didn’t have boots on the ground to make the changes. Adele Chenoweth, our local health promoter at DPV Health, has been very supportive. She reached out to me and helped us navigate our canteen improvements as part of Vic Kids Eat Well,” she said.

Campbellfield Heights Primary School kids love their canteen. Video thumbnail.

Principal, Mrs Bellizia said: “One of our students asked for a salad option to be added to the menu and Jess made it happen. Jess buys produce from the supermarket on the day and makes the salad fresh. We now have a shredded chicken salad with crunchy lettuce, cucumber, carrot, tomato and optional avocado and lemon dressing. It’s so popular that our staff buy it too.”

Jess Nahas said the school has refreshed their menu and switched to healthier snacks as part of Vic Kids Eat Well.

“We’ve done simple things like offer fresh salad wraps for students who want to try something other than a bread roll – this was based on student feedback. Our new baked chicken burgers are bestsellers too. They feature lite cheese, lettuce and the option to add fresh tomato. We also offer students free whole fruit and sell popcorn and packaged fruit cups,” Mrs Nahas said.

“We timed our Vic Kids Eat Well canteen refresh with ‘Compass’ ordering, that’s our portal for families. We still get traditional paper bag orders, but we’ve been able to showcase our nutritious menu to families who can easily pre-order online, knowing their kids have freshly-made options at school,” Mrs Nahas said.

Mrs Bellizia said: “The changes we’ve made as part of Vic Kids Eat Well, have made us eligible for rewards. We received a ‘Vic Kids Eat Well Digital Recipe Book’ and vouchers that we’ll use to upgrade some utensils in our canteen’s kitchen. We also plan to use the vouchers to purchase some fresh fruit and vegetables along with frozen items for the canteen.”

Adele Chenoweth, Senior Health Promotion Coordinator at DPV Health said Campbellfield Heights Primary School has been highly engaged in Vic Kids Eat Well.

“We’ve focused on easy wins with Vic Kids Eat Well by adding crunchy, fresh veggies to the school’s canteen offerings. I love that they’ve had student input into the canteen changes. Their canteen manager Jess has been really eager and their principal embraces opportunities to boost what’s on offer for her students,” Ms Chenoweth said.

Want to learn more about the free Vic Kids Eat Well initiative and how it can support your school? Take the first step by visiting here.

The City of Hume is one of 13 priority communities across the state that has additional hands-on support for Vic Kids Eat Well through the Healthy Kids Advisors initiative, which is delivered by Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and supported by the Victorian and Australian Governments.