Our two year Australian Tour to Transform Children’s Health was incredible, and we visited 90 schools right around Australia. Some were big schools with hundreds of students, some were small with as few as 35 students, some were public schools, some private, some Catholic/Christian/Religious. There were city schools, country schools and schools in rural/remote areas. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to empower and talk to over 20,000 children, parents, teachers, Principals, admin staff, and canteen managers. Along the way, we have learnt from all of these people about what is impacting when it comes to children’s health. Suffice to say, it’s a very complex melting pot of issues.
For the purpose of this article, I want to specifically look at the school canteen and Why Healthy Canteens Are Necessary Today. It comes with a warning – this is a long article, but it’s because the issues around canteens are so complex and important. The information has been gathered from a number of research papers, survey questions to various Facebook communities (over 600 responses), and our observations and learnings from our Australian Tour to Transform Children’s Health.
The combination of changes over the last 20 years has put more pressure on the role of the canteen. Today is it necessary for canteens/tuckshops to offer healthy menu options rather than ‘treat’ foods.
This section summarises the main complexities facing canteens. This summary gives you a good idea of what’s going on but I’d urge you to please also take the time to read the full detail provided in this article. I’d also ask you to share it widely. These are conversations which we need to be having widely and frequently.
The Canteen Conflict
The school canteen is the source of much concern and angst amongst parents and the school community. The conflicts arise mainly from these issues:
1) The Menu
- Those who want healthier options
- Those who feel the canteen is a treat and it’s ok to sell pies, sausage rolls, ice blocks, chips and the like
- Those who say let kids be kids, everything in moderation
- Those who believe kids won’t eat healthier options
- Those who believe the canteen can’t make money without selling pies, sausage rolls, ice blocks, chips and the like
- Those who do not use the canteen because of the food that’s on offer
What’s missing from the discussion around the school canteen menu is the context of what our kids are eating every single day outside of the canteen. If you take this into consideration, the importance of the school canteen offering healthy foods becomes a necessity.
2) How the canteen operates
- Owned and operated by the schools
- Operated by the P&C/F
- Some have dedicated employees paid by the school or P&C, others are run by volunteers
- Tendered out and run by businesses.
Regardless of the model, the canteen is mainly looked as a profit centre – it needs to make money for the canteen or the P&C/F or for the external business. If a canteen operator believes kids won’t eat healthy foods or they won’t make money from selling healthy foods, then there is always going to be angst amongst the school community about the menu.
3) State Government canteen guidelines
- Each State Government has guidelines as to what food can be offered on the menu
- Most guidelines seem to work on the basis of foods that can be offered every day, and foods which which can be offered in limited capacity and foods which shouldn’t be available
- It does not appear these guidelines are monitored strictly, or have any punitive ramifications if not followed.
The combination of the need for profit, combined with the headspace of those who operate the canteen, often determines what food is offered on the menu. This is not always what’s best for the health of our children.
The Role of The Canteen
Life and times have dramatically changed over the last 20-plus years, which means the role of the canteen today has fundamentally changed. Here’s some of the things which have changed:
1) Home life has changed
- More families with 2 parents working
- More single parent families
- More parents relying on processed food to go in the lunchbox due to need for convenience
- More frequent use of canteens for lunch and recess due to not enough time to prepare food at home
Parents right around Australia have told us how stressed and time poor they are today, and how this greatly impacts the food they send their kids to school with, or the food they have available as snacks. From our experience of visiting 90 schools and talking to 20,000 children, parents and teachers, it is common for most Australian children to have at least 2 processed packaged foods in their lunchbox per day (sometimes as many as 7 or 8 packets!) This means foods which were once “sometimes foods” – or “discretionary foods” under Australian Dietary Guidelines – are now everyday foods.
There is now a great need for canteens to offer foods which are healthier than “sometimes foods”, because there really is no such thing as “sometimes foods” for kids today.
2) The food environment has changed
- Families today rely more on processed food and take away than ever before
- Only 5 out of every 100 children are eating the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day
- Manufacturers have changed how they make food so it’s more economical – the focus on cost saving over quality
- Manufacturers now invest heavily in food science, developing flavours and colours designed to attract kids and become addictive
- The use of additives and preservatives has increased
- The number of foods consumed daily by children which contain additives and preservatives has increased, which means children today are consuming more additives and preservatives than ever before
Testing for food additives and preservatives is rigorous, takes years and a lot of money. They are governed by the Australian and New Zealand Food Safety Standards. Food additives and preservatives are tested in isolation for safety. This means the effects of what happens when combined with other additives and preservatives is largely unknown. In addition, the amount of additives and preservatives consumed can be a problem. A little here and there may not present an issue, but the more consumed, the more it can become a problem.
Children who consume at least 2 processed packaged foods in their lunchbox, are often eating a cocktail of multiple additives and preservatives every single day. Additives and preservatives which may be deemed safe in isolation, but not necessarily when combined with other additives and preservatives. There are also a growing number of additives and preservatives which have been identified as affecting children’s behaviour, concentration, learning, asthma, eczema and more.
Because children are now eating these sorts of foods daily in their lunchbox, there is extra pressure on canteens to ensure they are not adding to the cocktail of additives and preservatives children are already eating daily.
3) The classroom and school environment has changed
- More focus on standardised testing
- More regulations around discipline
- 10% of students have learning difficulties
- 6.8% have ADHD
- More children with allergies
- Between 30 & 50% of teachers wanting to leave teaching in the first 5 years due to the stressors of the classroom and school environment
- Many of the new generation of teachers grew up on processed packaged food
Right around Australia, teachers have told us how they now spend anywhere from 5% to 70% of their time managing behaviour, and when they aren’t managing behaviour, they feel like they are collecting data for the system. They feel as if the teaching and nurturing of the students now comes last. This is a big source of frustration because it’s their love of kids and education that inspired them to be a teacher.
From our first hand observations of the 90 schools we have visited, many classes required at least 1 Teacher’s Aide to support the teacher, often due to children with learning difficulties. This has to have a bearing on the costs of providing education to kids too.
Another common concern raised by parents is about the use of lollies, chocolates and ice blocks as rewards for students. From meeting and talking to hundreds and hundreds of teachers, I know teachers have their students’ best interests at heart. It’s reasonable to say that many parents do not comprehend just how much processed food their children are eating, or how it may be affecting their children’s health. It’s also reasonable to say that many teachers don’t comprehend this either. Of course, it doesn’t make it right, it just means awareness and education is needed.
Teachers deserve a classroom environment where students are not adversely impacted by the food they are eating. Students deserve a classroom environment where the capacity to learn is not impacted by the behaviour of the other children. Again, this makes it important for canteens to be offering foods which nourish children’s bodies and brains.
4) Children’s health in Australia has declined
This is a scary statement, but it is a reality. This is explored in much more detail below. Please take the time to digest what is happening to children’s health in Australia.
Look, the reality is this: Our kids look to us adults to be doing the right thing, even if they argue with us about it. Never in their wildest imagination would they think that us adults would be feeding them food daily which may impact their long term health. And truth of the matter is, neither would us parents. This problem is widespread.
There is a real disconnect between the food and drinks we put in our body and how they make us feel, and the impact they have on their health. I’ve had many parents say to me “I ate this when I was growing up and I turned out OK,” or, “Let kids be kids!” When they say this, it’s said with a fondness and nostalgia for their own youth.
But this was a time when “sometimes foods” really were treats, and when being a kid meant having an ice block or lolly only rarely. It was a time when packaged food was recognised as junk food, and was exciting because it wasn’t allowed everyday. It was a time when packaged food was not the normal everyday choice and way of life that it has become for this generation of children.
Something that has NOT changed over the last 20 years, is that the human body needs the right sort of nourishment for healthy growth and development.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines try to help us by recommending the 5 groups of food required for healthy growth and development, and pointing out that discretionary foods (most of the packaged foods kids eat daily) are not necessary for our health, growth or development.
It saddens me to say this, but for most children today, the normal way of eating is mainly discretionary foods (or what we use to call junk foods). What frightens me is that many parents we’ve met simply haven’t recognised that this change has happened, and they also regard this processed food as normal food. Some are quite shocked when they learn about what’s in their food, and others simply get angry at me (and others) for trying to share this information. If you take a look at the comments on a recent Facebook post I wrote (A Plea to Canteen Managers, P&C’s and Schools to put children’s health before profits and not buy Zooper Doopers) you’ll see exactly what I mean.
This is not about telling parents what they can feed their kids at home. This is about canteens and schools providing food which supports their students, and helps teachers create the best learning environment possible. If we aren’t prepared to help create the best learning environment possible, why do we bother sending our kids to school?
The saying “everything in moderation” no longer stacks up when most kids are eating sometimes foods every day. Unfortunately because of this, the pressure is now on canteens (and schools) to play a more responsible role of feeding kids healthier foods.
The Full Picture In Detail
Declining Children’s Health
The health issues facing our children are growing, and all of these health issues have increased in the last 20 plus years:
- overweight and obesity is on the increase (approx 27% of our kids between 5 & 17)
- diabetes type 2 (once an adult onset illness),
- asthma, stroke
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- auto-immune conditions,
It’s a scary list that’s growing. Some of these can be put down to medical science becoming smarter and being able to effectively label them, but when Government funded reports are saying the prevalence of some of these illnesses in our kids are the highest in the developed world, then you have to acknowledge that we have a problem.
One of the key markers of children’s health which actively gets reported and measured by the Government is the health issue of overweight and obesity. I prepared this graph using the key findings from using these 3 government reports : Overweight and Obesity in Australia by the Australian Parliament in October 2006, Australia’s National Health Study 2014-2015 reported by Australian Bureau of Statistics and ABS Year Book 2009-2010.
If you look at the graph, you can see a very clear increase in the number of our kids between 5 and 17 who are overweight or obese. Let’s break this down:
- In 30 years between 1985 to 2015 – 16.15% increase in children overweight or obese
- In 20 years between 1995 to 2015 – 7% increase in children overweight or obese – this equated to approximately 600,000 children between 5 and 17 being overweight or obese.
Research shows 80% of children who are overweight or obese, will go into adulthood overweight or obese.
The Impact of Children’s Health on Canteens
The fact children’s health, particularly overweight and obesity, is such a big issue, has put added pressure on canteens. It is no longer considered acceptable for canteens to offer foods which contribute to the health issues facing children. Canteens need to provide children with food which nourishes their bodies and brains.
Home Life Has Changed
Home life has changed, the primary care-giver is now quite often in part or full time employment. The juggling act of getting ready for work, packing lunches, and getting the kids out to door for school is stressful. Many parents now resort to convenient packages for the lunchboxes or more frequent use of the tuckshop. This is consistent with the information we’ve gathered.
Q: Did Mums* work part time or full time?
20 years ago
Survey responses were about half and half between stay at home mums and part- or full-time working mums. Many responses also indicated their mum stayed at home for the first few years of school life, mainly because they had a younger sibling, then she went to work once all kids were at school.
*for ease, I wrote mums because 20 years ago, the primary carer role fell predominantly to mums. A handful of responses said their Dad packed lunches. This is still similar today.
Research shows “Among families with children aged under 18 years old, the proportion of mothers who were employed increased from 55% in 1991, to 56% in 1996, 59% in 2001, 63% in 2006 and 65% in 2011.” See graph below from Australian Institute of Family Studies – Parents Working Out Work. Surprisingly, I have struggled to find a more recent number than 2011, but trend wise, it’s likely this will have increased a couple of percentage points.
Q: What foods did you have in your lunchbox?
20 years ago
Survey responses indicated it lunchboxes included sandwiches, a piece of fruit and a snack, usually a home baked cake or a biscuit. Only a few mentioned having vegetables in their lunchbox. A few people commented their lunchbox was filled with packets or had a juice box.
My observations from school visits and talking to teachers is that it is common for a school lunchbox to have between 2-4 packets, a sandwich and a piece of fruit. Vegetables are not common in the average lunchbox.
It’s important to note, most of these 2-4 packets are what Australian Dietary Guidelines call discretionary foods. They are not part of the Five Food Groups. According to the guidelines, discretionary foods are “sometimes” or “in small amounts” foods. Today, these discretionary foods are everyday foods in our kids lunchboxes.
A small scale study we ran at a NSW school shows the packet food gets eaten first, followed by all or some of the sandwich. Fruit is often partially eaten, or sadly, thrown in the bin whole and untouched.
Q: How often would you get a lunch order from the canteen?
20 years ago
Survey responses indicated most kids only got to place a canteen order once a week, or once a month. Some only got to order once a term or once a year. Other kids (considered the lucky kids by many respondents!) may have been given money (20c or 50c) to buy something each day. canteen orders were considered a treat, often to celebrate the start or the end of the week, or to give mum or dad the day off from packing lunches.
Most parents packed their kid’s lunchboxes every day. Parents considered it to be cheaper to make food at home compared to a canteen order. Some children packed their own lunches from age 10 onwards.
Talking to canteen owners or volunteers and teachers, they report many children are buying food from the canteen daily. Sometimes this is their recess or lunch, sometimes both.
Today when we visit schools, it is rare for a child not to have packaged food in their lunchbox. Some parents rely heavily on the canteen because they are too busy. Canteens report being swamped by lunch orders and seeing the same children every day. Other parents tell us they do not allow their kids to have canteen or rarely allow it, because of they consider the food unhealthy.
The Impact of Home Life Changes on Canteens
20 years ago, the canteen was considered a treat for a child and a break for the parent from packing lunchbox. It was acceptable for the canteen to sell foods which were considered sometimes food because children weren’t eating this sometimes food everyday in their lunchbox or outside of school. Today, busy and stressed parents are resorting to lunchboxes filled to processed packaged foods or using the canteen as a replacement for the lunchbox. As processed foods are much of every day life now, and the frequency of kids using the canteen has increased, it is no longer acceptable for canteen to be offer foods which aren’t healthy.
The Role Of The Canteen Has Changed
A canteen lady (let’s call her Fran) with 20+ years experience in canteen, recently told me how she’s seen canteen life changed so much over the years.
20 years ago
These 3 points summarise what Fran had to say:
- The school canteen was a fun place to work. It was mostly run by volunteer mums and dads.
- Kids were filled with excitement about their canteen order because it was special. It didn’t happen every day.
- Canteen menus reflected this, and the food offered was not everyday food for these kids.
These points reflect what Fran has to say about running a canteen today.
- The school canteen is a regulated work environment, with state governments having guidelines as to what can be included on the menu, how often and how much. Then there’s food safety regulations too.
- Canteens today are businesses. They are profit driven. If run by the school or P&C, the canteen provides a boost to much needed funds. If the canteen is a tendered contract, then the business obviously needs to make a profit. Canteens sell what they know kids will buy, and what makes them money.
- Many kids get their recess and lunch from the canteen almost every day. The element of the canteen order being special and different to every other school day is no more for many kids.
- The canteen is (according to Fran) now doing the job of a parent, and is required to make sure children are eating a healthy lunch every day.
- Some canteens still offer many of the same foods from the old days, but regulations such as the traffic light system used in varying degrees in some states have seen some canteens add better options. This system is only supervised from a distance, so there are still a lot of schools with foods which are what should be an occasional or very restricted foods.
On the outside, canteens today may look the same as they did 20 years ago, but the way they are run and the issues they face are very different.
Q: What food was available at the Canteen?
20 years ago
Below is an example of the food that was on offer. Remember, at this time, the parents were generally packing lunchboxes at home which included a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a home baked cake or biscuit as a snack. This canteen food really was sometimes food for most children. Today packets of chips, chocolate bars, muesli bars, juice boxes are every day lunchbox foods for many kids.
- Pies, sausage rolls, pasties
- Sandwiches or rolls – from vegemite, egg through to salad
- Juices – frozen or drinkable
- Flavoured milks
- Lollies – mixed bags, musk sticks, cobbers, snakes, Wizz Fizz etc
- Packets of chips, Burger Rings, Cheezels, Twisties etc
- Chocolate bars – Mars Bars, Crunchies, Curly Wurlys
This Herald Sun article: “See The Dodgy 1982 Lunch Menu That Fed A Melbourne Primary School” by journalist Jamie Duncan, included this yellowed copy of a canteen menu:
This obviously varies from school to school, and from state to state.
Bondi Primary School and Kathy’s Kitchen are widely recognised as providing healthy nourishing and delicious canteen food. Both schools have proven kids love eating real food, and in fact, when they have learnt how good it tastes, they will choose it over the less healthy food.
Here’s a few other examples of canteen menus which use the traffic light system. I draw your attention to the drinks which are available. Given the amount of sugar the average child is now consuming, I do not believe there is a place for these kinds of drinks at the canteen. The best drink for our kids at school is water. If you want your kids to have these drinks, only allow them at home, and only occasionally.
Canteens Have Become Food Businesses
Sometime around 2010, State Governments started implemented policies recognising canteens as a Food Service Business, and they need to be registered as such. The policies and guidelines for canteens varies by State and in many cases, by canteen within the State. Each State has a set of guidelines to help canteen managers make healthier food and drink choices for the canteens. Most States follow some sort of traffic light system:
- Green foods – these foods can be available everyday
- Amber foods – these foods mean you should select them carefully, and should not be available every day
- Red foods – these foods were not recommended, and only allowed occasionally.
Many of the amber foods are what Australian Dietary Guidelines would call discretionary foods. The guidelines say these are foods for only sometimes and in small amounts.
The problem with the Traffic Light system is twofold.
- Firstly, it’s based on 2003 Australian Dietary Guidelines which are outdated. For instance, the guidelines still promote low-fat products, which we now know are loaded with excessive amounts of sugar. Research shows sugar is addictive and is contributing to many of today’s modern health issues.
- Secondly, there are government-funded departments (e.g. the “Healthy Eating Advisory Service” in Victoria) who have the role of “encouraging” school canteens to follow the traffic light system, but they do not have the power to do anything to enforce the guidelines, and are effectively a bunch of toothless tigers.
All this means that, in practice, canteen menus vary widely. Many schools are offering a range of healthy options, which is fantastic. However, many schools still offer amber and red foods frequently, as well as items which were available on the menu 20 years ago.
The NSW Government needs to be acknowledged for taking the problem of childhood obesity seriously. They recognise the role the canteen plays in the life of our kids today and are trying to address the issue of food on the canteen menu. They have announced a move away from the Traffic Light System to a Food and Drink Benchmarking System, which includes Everyday Foods and Occasional Foods. The problem here is that the Occasional Foods list relies on Health Star Rating System, which is grossly flawed.
If you want a great explanation as to why this system is flawed, read this article by Peter FitzSimons. It is also not clear if this new system is actually enforceable by any government department. Again, it begs the question as to whether there will be any consequences if canteens do not follow the system.
A few further problems with the Traffic Light System:
- I also read that this benchmarking system maintains the rule of “Sugary drinks continue to NOT BE SOLD in school canteens or vending machines”. What do they deem to be sugary drinks? Because under the traffic light system, flavoured milks, Up & Go, Sports Drinks and Juice Boxes are all allowed. When you read the nutritional panel of these, they all contain 3+ teaspoons of sugar!
- Another thing is the State Guidelines appear to only apply to public schools. Although many of the Catholic and Private Schools we have visited also seem to follow a traffic light kind of system.
The Impact of the Canteen’s Changing Role
When canteens became recognised as a food service business, the environment became more regulated. Menu’s started to change, but it wasn’t enforceable with consequences. Many schools continued to offer foods which they knew children would buy even though these foods aren’t great for children’s health. But it’s a business, so it needs to make money. In addition to this, some of the foods allowed on the menu by the Australian Dietary Guidelines are questionable.
It was ok for the canteen of 20+ years ago to serve food which is now deemed amber, red or occasional food because kids did not each much of this food. Parents allowed their kids to have canteen order as a treat. Today though, the pressure for canteen menus to be healthy is under the spotlight more than ever before because of the state of children’s health and because many parents are so busy that the canteen is an easier option than packing school lunchboxes.
Can Healthy Canteens Be Profitable?
A canteen business is like any business; it needs to make a profit, or be subsidised by another profitable business. As Government Guidelines become more strict about the kinds of foods allowed on a canteen menu, there have been lots of commentators (journalists, politicians, canteen owners or co-ordinators, and even parents) saying kids won’t buy fruits and vegetables, so canteens will go out of business.
Please know there are many schools now with healthy canteen menus which are profitable. As they say, the proof is in the pudding – we have started to showcase healthy canteens serving real food kids love and that are making money. Check out the healthy canteens we’ve showcased here – and keep coming back because I aim to feature many more.
More examples of the food on offer at Kathy’s Kitchen
In terms of the school lunchbox, we believe the key is making this food available and normal for kids.
In term 4 of 2017, we ran The Real Food Lunchbox Project at Cambewarra Public School in NSW where for 8 weeks of term 4, processed packaged food was replaced with real food of fruits, vegetables, dips and smoothies for the school population of 320 students plus teachers and admin staff. The objectives were to observe how the peer environment facilitated making fruits and vegetables normal, and to what extent this change in eating impacted behaviour in the classroom and attitudes to real food at home. The initial results are encouraging. Of the surveys completed
- 64% of teachers saw an improvement in concentration
- 59% of teachers saw an overall improvement in listening, behaviour, concentration, working with others, and being respectful to the teacher
- 55% of parents saw an improvement in their children’s attitudes towards vegetables at home
- 26% of parents saw an improvement in their child’s mood at home
- 21% of parents saw an overall improvement in sleeping, mood, behaviour, interest in physical activity, energy levels and overall health.
What’s even more exciting is these results were achieved during term 4 which is notoriously a haphazard time of year due to end of year activities. What this project proved is that in a peer environment, kids will eat fruits and vegetables and it can be accepted as normal. This is promising for school canteens to know kids will eat fruits and vegetables, and it can be accepted as normal.
How you can help / get support
If you have spare time, volunteer:
This is one of the biggest issues most canteens face, the lack of volunteers. If you can spare some time, even if it’s just 20 minutes, pop into the canteen and see how you can help. They will always have something you can help with.
If you’d like help with your canteen:
I am an Ambassador for The Tuckshop Revolution. It’s a grass roots movement by our National Partner, My School Connect, aimed at supporting tuckshops to transition and modernise their tuckshop menu. Join the Tuckshop Revolution here. One of the My School Connect’s team will contact you to help you get started.
If you want to know more about the canteen guidelines:
Visit your states guidelines:
NSW – Healthy School Canteens – https://healthyschoolcanteens.nsw.gov.au/
Qld – Smart Choices – http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/healthy/docs/smart-choices-quick-guide.pdf
WA – School Canteen Nutritional Guidelines – http://www.waschoolcanteens.org.au/menus/nutritional-guidelines/
Vic – Healthy Canteens Kit – http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/principals/management/gfylpolicy.pdf
Tas – Healthy Eating Policy – http://www.tascanteenassn.org.au/accreditation/canteen-accreditation-requirements/
In 2010, the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines were released but it is up to the discretion of the state governments as to how these are applied.
If you’d like help understanding how to read packet labels
These 2 articles will help you.
If you’d like help packing healthy lunchboxes
If you’re busy parent but really want to pack healthy lunchboxes, then you might be interested in joining The 5 Minute Healthy Lunchbox System eCourse. It’s a 5 week, online, self paced eCourse which teaches you a simple system that will allow you to pack multiple lunchboxes in about 5 minutes a day. It includes over recipes and 12 weeks of menu plans and shopping lists. Plus you have access to a great member only Facebook community and to me of course.
And if you’re like some of the other 400 busy who have completed the eCourse, you can end up with the bonus of teaching your kids how to pack their own lunchboxes too. The eCourse is currently open for a limited time from 20th Feb to 28th Feb 2017.
Other questions to consider
As I have been writing this article, some questions I don’t have answers too came up. I’d love to hear your views on these, so please pop them in the comments.
- Why do busy working parents today, find it harder to pack simple healthy lunchboxes, than the busy working parents of 20 years ago?
- Why do parents today consider it’s cheaper to pack convenience foods or have a tuckshop order than to make healthy lunchboxes at home?
- Have we made lunchboxes too complicated today? 20 years ago, kids survived on a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a home made cake.
Sources used in this post:
- ABS Year Book 2009-2010
- Overweight and Obesity in Australia by the Australian Parliament in October 2006
- Australia’s National Health Study 2014-2015
- Australian Institute For Family Studies – Families then and now – 1980 to 2010
- Australian Institute For Family Studies – Parents Working Out Work
- The Good Food Guide – How Australia Eats. The Ultimate Pie Chart
- Herald Sun – See the Dodgy 1982 Canteen Menu of a Melbourne School
- Nutri Kids – Stop or Go: traffic light system
- Choice – School Canteen Logos On Snack Food
- Healthy Kids Association – School Canteens
- Real Food, Real You – Lunchboxing in the 1970’s without Pinterest
- Australian Health and Welfare – Asthma in Australian Children
- ABS – mums in the workforce
- ABC News – Qld’s Best School Tuckshop Reveals Its Secrets
- Facebook Survey Questions – here and here
- Australian Geographic – a history of food
- The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
- Better Health – Victorian Government – Food Additives
- The Hard Facts On Food Additives – ABC Health & Wellbeing