It was a proud moment in assembly on Thursday 30 June when Alliance Catering Manager, Rebecca Simpson, received a Heart Schools Award from Tanya Jeffcote of the Heart Foundation. Woodford House is the first boarding school in New Zealand to receive this accolade, the culmination of months of hard work by Rebecca and her catering staff in partnership with the School.
Alliance Catering provide approximately 600 healthy and nutritious meals a day for all boarding and day girls at Woodford House. The catering team is passionate and committed and have seen a real change in the food culture at school over the last year.
Rebecca says that, as a food service company, Alliance aims to instill confidence in the girls and their parents that they are providing healthy food while maintaining excellent quality and presentation. They also focus on promoting and providing education about healthy eating for young people.
An external catering review in 2015 provided direction for improvements at school with girls, teachers and parents feeding back and suggesting changes.
Students identified lunch as a meal that could improve. The recently introduced café style lunches offer the opportunity to promote healthy eating decisions by packaging food to improve the presentation and control portion size. This style of eating also allows for variety and provides the girls with a greater selection.
Other key areas were carefully identified for improvements to deliver health benefits. These included reducing the consumption of sugar, salt and fat, only providing milk and water and a move towards wholegrain and wholemeal bread. All of the recipes were modified in order to achieve this which enabled Alliance catering to work towards meeting the Heart Foundation guidelines and receive the national award.
Rebecca says there has been a positive response from the girls and their suggestions around the proposed changes have already led to an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
So next time you pass the window of Mrs Peterson’s office, look out for the little red glass heart, a symbol of the commitment that Woodford House has made to the wellbeing and health of all students.
Mrs Andrea Jackson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator