Here at gather, we’re focused more than anything on setting up the students we cater for for long, healthy, and happy lives. To help make sure we can do this as effectively as possible, our team of in-house Accredited Practising Dietitians are intimately involved with the entire catering delivery process. They’re responsible for ensuring our meals and menus support the growth of students, but they also go above and beyond by visiting our partner’s schools and colleges to ensure that we’re always surpassing our own standards and to provide tailored health education for students. After all, if children are the future, then it’s our task to do everything we can to build them the brightest and healthiest future possible.
On the importance of education
Habits and behaviours that we learn as children will, more often than not, stay with us long into our adult lives. This is especially true of our eating habits, and for something that will play such a central role in health and wellbeing, it’s important that children are taught how best to fuel and care for their bodies from a young age. gather’s boarding school catering solutions place a heavy emphasis on dietary education that’s engaging and accessible to all ages, whether that’s in the form of our nutrition tips throughout our serveries, our healthy eating guides that we distribute to students, or the assessment and education expeditions our team of in-house dietitians regularly make to client’s schools.
The dietitian is in
Alongside dietetic reports on the meals and menus available on your site, our dietitian team will also visit your school or residential hall for biannual site inspections and nutritional education sessions. The purpose here is twofold: to allow an expert eye to make sure that the service of our boarding school catering team is still delivering the best possible outcomes for your students, and to give students an opportunity to engage in meaningful nutritional education with an area expert.
These sessions can offer some detailed insights into the nutrition developing bodies need and effective ways that students can meet their daily requirements. Our team members will delve into vital areas such as nutritional requirements, discretionary choices, healthy dietary planning, and more, all delivered in a fashion that’s engaging and accessible to the student body. Our expert dietitians can also provide one-on-one sessions for those in need of specialised dietary advice, such as students who might have specific dietary needs, experience allergies, or are regularly engaged in rigorous sporting schedules.
Caring for remote communities
We understand that specialised schools in remote Indigenous communities can face some unique challenges with regards to food accessibility and education, and we do our best to cater for these wherever possible. Indigenous Australians living in remote areas may find themselves at greater risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, and early education about these issues can be key to nipping health concerns in the bud. Our Indigenous Participation Manager may accompany our dietitians on remote site visits where additional cultural context would be useful, and they can assist with clear communication.
Rachel Gray – Senior Dietitian, left, and Kevin Alley – Indigenous Participation Manager, right.
As an example, many of the remote communities we work with face difficulties acquiring fresh produce that might be readily available in more urbanised areas. In turn, this means that generalised information sessions about portioning of fresh fruit and vegetables are of little use to students who can’t reliably access these goods. With this in mind, our dietitians assessed the situation and provided tailored information sessions that taught students how to assess the levels of salt and sugar in the products available to them, and how they could make dietary decisions to best improve their health with the assistance of our boarding school catering.
Packing up the classroom
We understand that when it comes to providing the best catering and care for growing minds and bodies, there’s no such thing as an effective one-size-fits-all approach. Your students deserve individualised care and attention to protect their health, and they need expert support to receive that. If you’d rest easier knowing that your school’s catering was backed by a talented and experienced team of in-house dietitians that take a hands-on approach to protecting the health of your students, then reach out to our Education expert via the details below.
Reference: 1. Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Neil Drew, Ashleigh Parnell, Christine Potter, and Miranda Poynton. 2022. “Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Status, 2021.” Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Status, January. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/ecuworks2022-2026/355/.
To find out more, get in touch with David O’Brien to have a quick chat about how gather can provide your students and residents with a well-rounded and connecting mealtime experience.