How Hort Innovation is helping get kids to eat their greens – happily

This month, Australia’s leading horticultural-industry body Hort Innovation launched a initiative to get Aussie kids eating more fresh fruit and veg – and being happy about doing so.

The new ‘Phenomenom ‘ campaign and associated toolkit are designed to help school-aged children recognise the positive connection between eating fresh, healthy food, enjoying outdoor activities, and being in a better mood.

Hort Innovation hopes the new resources will help teachers and parents teach kids about how eating different foods can affect their moods, as well as other things they can do to improve feelings of wellbeing, such as getting outdoors, fun exercise and gardening.

If it succeeds, Hort Innovation’s campaign will doubtless be popular with parents, too.

The Good Mood Food Special toolkit

The basis of the new campaign is a free, innovative toolkit designed for schools and families known as The Good Mood Food Special.

A suite of digital resources, the toolkit includes Australian curriculum-aligned lesson plans across numeracy, literacy, humanities and health. These “make it easy for teachers to engage kids in learning through videos, podcasts and activities”, says Hort Innovation General Manager, Research and Development Dr Alison Anderson, in classrooms and remote-learning environments.

“We have conducted research into these new resources and found that… nine in 10 teachers would like to see more food and nutrition teaching resources available, which is why we are launching The Good Mood Food Special,” Dr Anderson says.

Phenomenom is the result of “years of research and development from a team of more than 60 talented creatives and specialists”, explains creator Alice Zaslavsky.

She notes that The Good Mood Food Special is “a natural progression which considers the changing nature of schooling, giving parents and teachers actionable resources … while helping [kids] build better relationships with food”.

What’s in the package?

The Good Mood Food Special package includes:

  • a fully animated video episode (‘webisode’) voiced by comedian Matt Okine and Little Lunch star Madison Lu;
  • three animated ‘Nomcast’ audio podcast episodes;
  • pdf resources including easy lesson plans for teachers;
  • posters, ‘prompt cards’ and quiz questions designed for the Kahoot platform;
  • an interactive Good Mood Moves wheel to encourage teachers to offer kids regular ‘mood breaks’, using movement – in line with current research suggesting that certain activities help boost children’s engagement. The specifically designed interactive wheel ‘gamifies’ fruit and vegetables into exercises of benefit to kids who perfrom them regularly.

Why is the campaign important?

“Contemporary research is highlighting how important it is to honour all of our kids’ feelings, not just the good ones,” Zaslavsky notes.

“We’re trying to give them the tools to learn to put themselves in a positive mindset, …whatever obstacles might come their way.”

Hort Innovation Research and Development Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian Jemma O’Hanlon is positive about the potential benefits of a program emphasising the link between consuming fresh, healthy food and a better mindset, in children as well as adults.

”There is a strong body of evidence supporting whole foods for a good mood,” O’Hanlon says. “These resources will help teachers explain the science of good mood foods and the impact of green space on mood in a fun and engaging way.

“There is no better time to include more fruit, vegetables and nuts in our diet and enjoy our wonderful green spaces,” she says.

The package, wheel and all resources are available for free online at

Source: Helping Aussie kids explore food and its relationship to mood I Hort Innovation