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School’s dramatic canteen revamp

Business is booming at a Dunedin school's canteen since its menu was given a healthy overhaul. 

Pies, chips, lollies and fizzy drinks have been kicked for touch at Bayfield High School. These days, you’ll find students tucking into freshly-made sandwiches, salads and wraps.

Not only are students eating better food but the Dunedin school’s canteen is now making more money in a day than it previously did in a week!

But revamping the canteen has been no walk in the park; it’s demanded a year-long team effort involving students, staff and the Heart Foundation.

It all started when students and staff decided early last year that their school food was unappealing and unhealthy. It was time for change.

A student health team got busy surveying students to gauge their thoughts on the matter and ask for healthy food suggestions.

The team then presented their ideas at the local Health Promoting Schools network meeting, winning the competition for best ideas and presentation on the day.

Sadly, the school canteen manager chose not to adopt any of the healthy recommendations that emerged from the survey. The students were deflated but Shannon Booth, an inspired new teacher, refused to give up and encouraged the students to persevere with their dream.

She arranged a meeting with the Heart Foundation’s Health Promotion Coordinator, Qa-t-a Amun, and the school principal, who immediately saw that a nutrition policy was needed before any real change would happen. 

The new policy led to a new canteen manager being appointed, who had the same approach to providing healthy food to adolescents.

And so came a revamp of the school canteen menu. Pies, chips, lollies, fizzy and energy drinks were out the door, replaced by fresh sandwiches, salads, water or juice. Healthy foods are now made fresh on site each day.

An unexpected result is that business is now booming at the canteen. This is because foods are now produced almost entirely from scratch on site, which cuts costs, and sales have spiked because students are so keen to get their hands on the tastier, healthier and more attractive food being sold.

Well done to Bayfield High School!