By Vivian Moreau
Whistler schools and staff housing facilities don’t need any
encouragement from the province to instill good eating habits — they
already have policies in place to restrict junk food and promote healthy
Recently the provincial government drafted new policies aimed
to promote a healthier population, including banning smoking in all indoor
public spaces and phasing out junk food in schools. But Whistler schools and
staff housing already have measures in place to promote healthy eating.
Spring Creek Community School doesn’t allow vending machines in
its building, but it does have a lunch program twice a week, says principal
Gerri Galloway. The school also prohibits nuts on the premises and doesn’t have
any plans to install vending machines.
Myrtle Philip elementary students do have access to vending
machines filled with juices and pop in the community end of the building, but
only after 3 p.m. says principal Sharon Broatch.
“They can’t use the machines between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. because
I’m not about to stand there and police that what they’re choosing is juice,”
The school also has a lunch program twice a week, with pizza
and sushi offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hot dog days were phased out
about five years ago, Broatch said.
Whistler Secondary School has three vending machines: two
contain juices and bottled water, a third has chocolate bars and bags of chips.
Principal Bev Oakley said students and parents protested when attempts were
made to phase out all junk food three years ago. A compromise was reached by
phasing out pop from the machines — which fund supplies like athletic
uniforms for school teams — and bringing in a greater supply of healthy
drinks. Oakley said initial concerns that sales would decline when juice and
water replaced pop went unfounded.
“We were wondering what that would do to profits, but it was
interesting to note that our profits actually went up when we put juice in our
machines,” Oakley said.
Parents also volunteered to start up a lunch program that runs
five days a week and provides 150 meals a day, ranging from chili on Mondays to
macaroni and cheese on Friday.
Cooking classes for Whistler-Blackcomb employees will continue
this winter at staff housing on Glacier Drive. Taught by local chef Karen Kay,
the bi-weekly free evening class accommodates about eight participants and
teaches them how to cook healthy meals on a minimal budget.
“We’ll probably start up with a Mexican night,” Kay said,
adding that vegetarian dishes are the program’s focus. “We’re working on how to
teach them to cook healthy, and economically beans and grains are the cheapest
way to go but a lot of them don’t know how to cook with them.”
Kay recently applied for a provincial grant through Directorate of Agencies for School Health for new cutting boards and knives for the classes, which are sponsored by Whistler Community Services Society and Whistler-Blackcomb.
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