What is your child’s school tuck shop serving up

With the overwhelming increase of childhood obesity (i.e. 17% of South African children between 1-9 years are either overweight or obese) and unhealthy eating practices; the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) challenges parents to examine what their children are being fed at school!

Many school tuck shops in South Africa have become much like convenient fast food outlets- serving calorie laden unhealthy foods that are quick to prepare in an attempt, to beat the queues and satisfy youthful appetites in record time. As a parent or caregiver, you should play a fundamental role in ensuring that your child achieves optimal nutritional status and development.

To fight the bulge as well as to promote healthier eating principles at schools, the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA has established a ground breaking Tuck Shop Programme that provides FREE nutritional advice, support and menu planning to tuck shop managers at schools. The main objectives of the Programme are to enable children to make healthier choices when faced with a range of options and to prevent obesity and malnutrition in the long term. School tuck shops are implored to serve more nutritious snacks and meals on a daily basis. We address changes to school tuck shops and lunches by suggesting the following; include increased offerings of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods; provide more baked foods instead of deep fried foods and place limits on the fat, sugar and caloric (energy) content of foods served.

According to Ayesha Seedat, Community Dietitian for the HSFSA’s Tuck Shop Programme, there is a significant link between a healthy diet and:

  • Healthy growth and development.
  • A learner’s capacity to learn and perform effectively and optimally.
  • The development of diseases of lifestyle at a young age as well as later in life.
  • The decrease or prevention of the development of obesity.
  • Improved sports performance.
  • Minimised hyperactive behaviour.

If you would like more information on the HSFSA’s Tuck Shop Programme visit www.heartfoundation.co.za or contact Ayesha Seedat on 021 447 4222 or ayesha@heartfoundation.co.za to find out how your school and child can benefit from this initiative.

To assist us in effectively meeting the needs of the thousands of school tuckshops throughout South Africa, we ask you to email us your feedback on what your child’s school tuckshop is serving up (good or bad) – email murishca@heartfoundation.co.za to give us your input.