Green Kids and SuperMeals offer a healthy start
Children at Parnell Community Trust’s Parnell and Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centres in Auckland love eating their veges – they just mightn’t know it.
Every day they eat hot meals, made super-nutritious with the addition of hidden veges, chopped super-fine and snuck into every dish.
Four years ago, Parnell Trust developed a menu of more than 20 super delicious, nutritious meals in their quest for gold medal status in the New Zealand Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart programme.
The Trust wanted to ensure that the children in their care were getting the best start in life and healthy food was a key component of what became their Green Kids Programme.
“There’s so much research pointing to the importance of excellent nutrition for the optimal development of little kids’ bodies and brains,” said Lyn Fox, Parnell Trust’s CEO.
“As teachers and parents, we’ve seen the effects of processed foods on children. We wanted to make a difference for our centres’ children and their parents by serving really healthy food.
Our Green Kids Programme now plays a core role in life and learning at our centres, and has become a real drawcard for parents,” she said.
The Green Kids Programme builds on the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart initiatives and encompasses healthy eating, physical activity, food and nutrition learning curriculum programmes and a commitment to extend these healthy messages into the wider community.
After winning three Pa-Harakeke Gold Healthy Heart awards, and encouraged by parents who were very happy to see their children eating healthy meals and snacks at the centres, (especially when they were fussy eaters at home), the Trust launched its range of heart-healthy KidsHQ SuperMeals in 2015.
Initially sold to centre parents only, the home-style frozen meals, made in the centres’ commercial kitchen, were a hit.
Busy parents and grandparents love having healthy meals kids love to eat on hand when they don’t have the time to cook something from scratch themselves.
KidsHQ SuperMeals’ range of Favourites and changing Specials has been a great success.
Thousands have been sold since the meals were made available to the public at additional Parnell Trust locations, including Parnell Community Centre and Parnell Farmers’ Market.
In late 2016, KidsHQ SuperMeals’ range was made available as a catering option for early childhood centres, in made-to-order portion sizes, delivered twice a week.
“We’ve developed a product we’re really proud of, and we see it having such a positive impact in our own centres.
We think our catered meals could be a great solution for centres where parents are asking for high quality meals for their kids, for providing meals to kids with special dietary needs, to potentially save time and costs in a centre’s kitchen and even to fast-track entry to the Healthy Heart Programme,” Lyn said.
“As a social enterprise, Parnell Trust’s vision is to take everything we’ve learned and share this with other early childhood centres and their families. KidsHQ SuperMeals will be our way of ‘paying it forward’.
We’ve received such inspiring support from the Heart Foundation, we want to share our learnings and help spread the healthy living message,” she said.