Hero healthy habits

Mikala Atkinson, Nutritionist

teacher at desk eating carrot sticks

Encouraging children to eat well is supported by setting a good example and providing a positive space where healthy eating habits are normal practice. 

When children see that healthy eating habits are part of the daily routine, and have repeated exposure to positive and consistent messaging, they are more likely to adopt these healthy habits themselves. The classroom provides the perfect place for promoting, modelling and encouraging healthy eating habits. Here are some fun and engaging ways to create a space that supports healthy eating habits

  • Showcase fresh and seasonal ingredients in cooking demonstrations
  • Display posters around drink fountains listing the many amazing functions water helps with e.g. staying cool, staying focused, having a healthy tummy, why not get the children involved in designing posters?
  • Introduce different varieties of fruits or vegetables during shared morning tea or classroom parties e.g. blood oranges, purple carrots, yellow tomatoes
  • Play games using vegetables and fruits e.g. fun facts about vegies or fruit bingo
  • Use vegetables and fruit images for children’s name labels, bag hooks, displays or different stations around the room
  • Give fresh produce away as prizes and classroom rewards
  • Fundraise using seasonal and fresh produce e.g. for raffles, fetes, awards ceremonies a bag of freshly picked stone fruit in summer is a fantastic prize!

The Crunch&Sip® program is designed to create a space where healthy eating habits are part of the daily routine and encourages students to crunch on fresh produce and sip on water while in the classroom. This daily in class break provides plenty of opportunity to reach for crunchy carrots, juicy cherry tomatoes or cool slices of cucumber when students feel they need a little boost of energy.

The Crunch&Sip® program also helps to encourage adventurous eating as students may notice their teacher or friends enjoying a vegetable or fruit they themselves have not tried before.


Reaching for water when thirsty is a healthy habit we know kids need to be reminded about across the day. When you notice yourself feeling a little thirsty remember to model healthy habits and reach for a drink of water. Why not take the opportunity to talk about the many benefits of staying hydrated with your students!

Outside the classroom

Once children step outside the classroom and reach for their lunchbox, teachers play a different role. This is a delicate space and one that requires a careful approach. Remember that a healthy lunchbox can range from super simple to slightly more adventurous. Depending on who packs the food or between different households, a healthy lunchbox can look quite varied. It is not helpful to create a dynamic where kids and parents feel they are being policed. Instead, if you want to encourage healthy eating in the playground, focus on positive reinforcement and gentle encouragement.

Be mindful of individual circumstances. It is important not to single any one child out.

Providing positive input could include:

  • Commenting broadly on brightly coloured fruits and vegetables you see and talking about the benefit of eating a rainbow for a healthy body
  • Encouraging a lunchbox theme that children can talk about with their parents – pack something green or crunchy or homemade
  • Taking your own healthy lunchbox and enjoying some fresh foods alongside the kids
  • Being mindful not to compare one child’s lunchbox to another’s

If you think your parent community could benefit from one of our free healthy lunchbox sessions,  then why not book one now.