Healthy Eating

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. It helps to keep your body healthy and strong, as well as preventing illness. The South Coast Prevention Team work with partners across the sub-region to create healthy environments that are supportive of healthy eating. This includings working with early childhood services, schools and workplaces to implement the Health Eating Benchmarks of the Achievement Program.

The South Coast Prevention Team are working with local community houses on an exciting project to increase the availability, access to and promotion of healthy options. The project is an expansion of the Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice project completed in 2018-2019 with local food retail businesses.

The project aims to improve access to healthy food and drinks for volunteers and visitors accessing local community houses for classes, events and emergency food relief, with the overall goal of encouraging our community to make healthier choices every day.

Community houses are currently implementing additional resources and programs that support our community to make healthier choices. These include;

• Expanding community gardens - with the herbs, fruits and vegetables grown being utilised in community meals, emergency food relief and cooking programs
• Building custom-made produce carts to support the development of community led produce-swap initiatives.
• Improving healthy eating knowledge and cooking skills through cooking classes.
• Promoting drinking tap water – with water coolers, water fountains and filtered water taps being placed in high traffic areas.
• Running education sessions with a local dietitian.
• Providing healthy eating handouts to the community, developed by the Prevention Team.

Printable Handouts and Materials

Project Update - Infographic

Smart Eating Week 2020

Get your family Eating Smarter in 2020

When it comes to food and nutrition, it can often be confusing trying to make the right choices for you and your family. Smart Eating Week 2020 is the perfect time to get some inspiration to help establish and maintain healthy eating habits in your home.

Healthy eating is not a diet, instead it means eating a variety of foods from the five food groups each day including bread and cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat or alternatives such as fish, chicken, eggs, tofu or legumes. Don’t forget this includes the beverages we consume; drink plenty of water and limit sugary drinks, such as soft drink.
Here are some practical tips and hints to get you and your family eating smarter in 2020:

Keeping down the costs

It is a common myth that healthy foods are more expensive. Evidence proves that when buying fresh ingredients instead of single packaged items, and when planning and budgeting your weekly shop, healthy eating works out significantly cheaper than processed and takeaway foods.

There are plenty of ways to save money on healthy food including:

• Plan & write a list when you go shopping.
• Buy the basic foods such as breads, dairy, fruit, vegetables, cereals and meats first before considering snack foods or other treats.
• Buy your fruits and vegetables in season.
• Support local; in Gippsland we are spoilt for choice when it comes to farmers markets.
• Try frozen or canned vegetables as these are often cheaper and just as good for you.
• Add canned lentils, kidney beans or other legumes to mince dishes to make the meal go further.
• Include a vegetarian meal each week using eggs or lentils – cheap and nutritious.

Packing a healthy lunchbox

When children eat well they behave better, are able to listen well and concentrate for longer. Packing a healthy school lunchbox will help your child to learn and be happy at school.

When packing a lunchbox, mix and match a variety of foods from each of the five food groups. These five food groups provide different nutrients essential for energy, growth and learning.

• Grain foods – bread, pasta, noodles, rice or crackers. Choose wholegrain options for longer lasting energy and more fibre.
• Vegetables – cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, corn cob, snow peas or salad vegetables. Try serving veggies with hummus or tzatziki.
• Fruit – fresh fruit, frozen fruit or a tub of diced fruit in natural juice.
• Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives – tub of yoghurt, cheese cubes, tetra pack of milk or calcium fortified plant-based milks.
• Meat and alternatives – cold lean meats such as chicken, hardboiled eggs, canned tuna, baked beans or falafel balls.

Making sure water is the drink of choice is a fantastic start to a child’s nutrition.

Establishing a positive relationship with food

Help your children to develop a positive relationship with food, role model balanced eating and speak positively about healthy foods. Here are some language swaps to make at the dining table to help create a more positive and relaxed space.

• Swap out “Finish everything on your plate” for “Is your tummy feeling full?”. This encourages your child to listen to their bodies.
• Swap out “Eat your veggies or you don’t get dessert” and instead say nothing. What you see may look like a success, however it may have far-reaching negative effects on your child’s relationship with food. In fact, using food as a reward teaches them to dislike it.
• Swap out “You don’t like broccoli” for “Don’t worry, you just need to try broccoli a few more times, you’ll learn to like it soon!” - Let’s all start to believe they just don’t like it YET, they can learn to like it, that they will learn to like it in time. Be positive and continue to teach our kids about food.

Introducing new foods into your child’s diet

Did you know it can take ten exposures to a new food before a child accepts it?

It is normal that your child will not like everything you serve them. In fact, periods of fussy eating are a normal part of a child’s development as they try to take control over their world.

When introducing a new food serve it with at least one ‘safe’ food, one that you know your child likes. This allows your child to happily eat something else on offer, creating a relaxed meal time experience.

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘parents provide kids decide’? As parents, we naturally often take on too much of the responsibility at meal times. When it comes to food, there is a shared responsibility for parents and children. It is the parent’s responsibility to choose what, where and when to eat. It is the child’s responsibility to choose how much to eat and whether to eat at all. Try serving food at the table in ways that allow your child to help themselves and decide how much they will eat.

If you are looking for further support, South Gippsland Hospital, Gippsland Southern Health Service and Bass Coast Health all have a Dietetic service available. The Dietitian can provide dietary advice on healthy eating for all ages and specific advice for conditions including Diabetes and heart disease.

Tap Water Every Day Campaign 2019

Our water, it’s healthy, it’s free campaign was a social marketing project delivered between 10 September through to 10 December 2019. The campaign was targeted at reducing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) and increasing consumption of tap water of teenage males (13 – 18 years) in the South Coast (Bass Coast & South Gippsland Local Government Areas).

Young Australian men (12-24 years) are very high consumers of sugar sweetened beverages and soft drink in particular. The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Unlike other social marketing campaigns, Tap Water Every Day was co-designed with local young people. Teenage males worked together with the South Coast Prevention Team from start to finish to understand the issue and to ensure the campaign was relevant to them and their peers. The key messages of the campaign, the communication channels used and the settings targeted were all developed in partnership with teenage males.

During the campaign period based on ideas generated during the co-design process with our local young males and stakeholders, a variety of activities and events occurred across the sub-region to support the social marketing campaign.

Evaluation findings from the campaign indicated that there was an increase by 1 serve of water per day by the primary target audience and over two thirds (69%) of parents increasing the serves of tap water they provide their children by at least 2 per day.
There was an increase in the primary target market avoiding SSB post campaign, with 39% indicating they did not consume any SSB in the week prior to surveying compared to 13% pre-campaign.

Pre-campaign over 80% agreed or strongly agreed that tap water is an important part of a healthy diet and post campaign this increased to 87% of respondents. Conversely, pre-campaign close to 80% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that SSB’s were good for their health post campaign this decreased to 73%.

The co-design approach utilised in the development and implementation of this campaign highlighted some key learnings for the project team. These learnings have provided much value to the South Coast Prevention Team and will influence future projects

To download campaign resources please click on the links below:

Poster 1 A4

Poster 1 A3

Poster 2 A4

Poster 2 A3

Recipe Card 1

Recipe Card 2

Social Media Assets - 9 Files (ZIP File)

Making the healthy choice the easy choice 2018 - 2019

The Prevention Team together with South Gippsland Shire Council and Bass Coast Shire Council have recently completed the Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice project with local food businesses.

Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice used the Healthy Choices: food and drink classification guide, which categorises food and drinks as Green, Amber or Red based on their nutritional value. Green-best choice, Amber- choose carefully and Red-limit. (The Traffic Light System). Individual menu items were assessed using the Victorian Healthy Eating Enterprise Food Checker Tool and assigned a classification.

During year one of the project the team collaborated with Environmental Health Officers to identify and engage a cross section of food businesses to participate in the pilot phase. Health Promotion staff worked directly with 5 identified businesses to co-design interventions that are achievable for that businesses. This process enabled staff to identify clear drivers for each businesses’ involvement in the project and build on these. During year two the project team circulated an expression of interest to all food businesses across the South Coast, using local government food business annual registration mail out to distribute. Furthermore, businesses that were identified as a good fit for the project were followed up with phone calls to support engagement in the project. As with phase one, interventions were co-designed with each individual business, put in place for a minimum period of 3 months and monitored during this time. This enabled interventions to be adapted or scaled up in response to the data collected. Each intervention was designed to encourage consumers to make healthier choices, by changing the placement, product, pricing or promotion of healthier food and drinks in preference to unhealthy options.