California Gully and Lockwood primary school students learn eating habits for healthy living from the Root Cause

Primary school students have learnt how good and tasty healthy food can be with visits this week from a family spreading awareness of healthy eating.

The Root Cause went to California Gully and Lockwood primary schools to teach both students and parents about not only the benefits of healthy eating, but how easy it could be.

Pupils learnt about eating a ‘rainbow’ of foods, conducted experiments, and did taste-tests of healthy smoothies.

The Root Cause founder Bel Smith explained to young students how people needed to eat “food and drink that helps us, and only occasionally food and drink that doesn’t help us”.

The visit to California Gully Primary School was largely driven by the parent body, particularly Amy Bolitho.

“I can see all the kids with all these packets and all these processed foods that aren’t good for them,” Mrs Bolitho said.

“I’m trying to teach my kids healthy eating, but they want these foods.”

Acting principal Michelle Griffiths said food had a “huge impact” on emotions, behaviour and concentration.

The school was also hoping to show parents that healthy eating did not have to be expensive, social worker Kerryn Phillips said, but could be cheaper than processed foods.

Mrs Bolitho said children liked healthy foods and were willing to eat it, if it was there and they knew about it.

The visit complements the school’s existing breakfast programs and fruit snacks, and it plans to introduce healthy cooking classes next year after receiving a grant from the City of Greater Bendigo.

Lockwood Primary School has renewed its focus on healthy eating, overhauling its canteen menu this term to include only ‘green’-rated foods under the education department’s guidelines and bringing in a chef and catering company to help.

“In kinder, kids are taught all this [about healthy eating], then they get to school and the canteen’s offering pies and cakes and rubbishy foods,” principal Sally Rule said.

“There was concern from parents and myself as principal that we were not honouring the work of kinders.”

She also said it was noticed that the children with behavioural issues tended to have unhealthy diets.

The visit to California Gully Primary was supported by a grant from Fairley’s IGA in Eaglehawk.