Eat it to Beat it

Cancer Council NSW’s nutrition program Eat It To Beat It is calling on Coffs Coast students and community members interested in healthy eating to join their program as volunteer Program Facilitators.

Northern NSW Nutrition Project Officer, Juanita Nantes said volunteering with Eat It To Beat It provides valuable career experience and social rewards, helping hundreds of families improve their diet and cut cancer risk.

As trained program facilitators, volunteers would run free workshops for parents at primary schools in the community. They give families ideas, skills and resources to include more fruit and vegetables in lunch boxes and the household diet.

Alarmingly in Coffs Coast, seven per cent of children don’t eat enough vegetables, while 33 per cent don’t eat enough fruit, NSW Health statistics show.

Northern NSW Nutrition Project Officer, Juanita Nantes said program facilitators played an important role in improving the health of children and families.

“In spreading the message about eating the recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day, program facilitators are helping families and children reduce their cancer risk and maintain their health,” Ms Nantes said.

“In return they receive support and mentoring from an experienced team of health professionals, learn valuable personal and presentation skills and make a contribution to the Coffs Coast community.”

MaryEllen, Program Facilitator from Coffs Harbour says “Volunteering for the Eat It To Beat It program appealed to me as I had already educated children about healthy foods, however there was a gap with education for parents. A few mums were working mums and tried to choose healthy packaged foods, but found it hard not knowing how to create a healthier, more natural choice with such limited time”.

“It’s a nice opportunity to share information with families. It’s great to see diversity in diets and the ability to adapt the healthy eating message to everyone.” MaryEllen said.

Ms Nantes said demand is growing for Eat It To Beat It’s Healthy Lunch Box and Fruit & Veg Sense workshops.

More volunteers are needed to deliver the program.

“Our volunteers receive full training and ongoing support and get personal satisfaction from delivering a cancer prevention message to the community,” Ms Nantes said.

The next program facilitator training is on Thursday, 1st March at the Coffs Harbour Cancer Council Office, 121 West High Street. Training and resources are free of charge, lunch is provided and reimbursement for travel is available.

For information contact Juanita Nantes on (02) 6639 1306 or juanita.nantes@nswcc.org.au