GALLERY: Crunch time for Merrylands pupils 

Pupils went bananas at St Margaret Mary’s Primary School today, dressed as different fruits and vegetables to launch the school’s Crunch and Sip program.

Strawberry costumes were popular with staff and pupils who wore apple and broccoli costumes and ropes of purple or green balloons to resemble grapes.

Year 1 teacher Melissa Fardella was one of two staff asked to introduce the Crunch and Sip program to the school after attending training under the NSW government’s Live Life Well health initiative.

The program gets pupils to snack on a piece of fruit or vegetable and sip water during a set break in class time.

It was trialled by two classes last term and rolled out to all grades today, with 600 pieces of fruit donated to the school by Sydney Markets.

‘‘Our aim is to create and promote a positive attitude to fruit and vegetables,’’ Ms Fardella said.

‘‘It’s also trying to get them [pupils] to experiment with different fruits and vegetables, not just the common ones like a banana or piece of apple.

‘‘Everyone got into the spirit, which was really good.’’

Year 6 teacher Diane Antonucci was also responsible for the school’s health action plan, and said a slinky machine — to core and cut apples into a spiral — had increased student interest in eating the fruit.

‘‘They all wanted to bring their apples in,’’ she said.

‘‘Of the 77 in year 6 we had four or five children who would have apples. Now about 80 per cent of the children bring in a snack of fruit or vegetables.’’

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