Healthy Eating Policy
As part of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Programme, at CBS Dundalk we encourage the children to become more aware of the need for healthy food in their lunch boxes.
What people eat is known to be a key factor influencing health. Research indicates a strong link between diet and performance (e.g. a low sugar intake promotes concentration, lessens hyperactivity, protects teeth, and lessens the risk of diabetes. A low salt intake reduces the risk of heart disease in later life).
To promote healthy eating habits in our school, we have a healthy eating policy starting from Junior Infants.
- To promote the personal development and well-being of the child
- To promote the health of the child and provide a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects.
- To enable the child to appreciate the importance of good nutrition for growing and developing and staying healthy.
- To enable the child to accept some personal responsibility for making wise food choices and adopting a healthy, balanced diet.
Prior to attending school, parents should ensure that children have a balanced breakfast to help them learn and concentrate better.
Lunch is also an important meal for school-going children. It should provide one third of their recommended daily allowance of nutrients without being high in fat, sugar or salt. It should also provide dietary fibre (roughage).
A healthy lunchbox includes a helping of food from the bottom four shelves of the food pyramid, as per the suggestions in the below picture taken from the SAFEFOOD/HSE healthy lunchboxes leaflet. This leaflet is available as a link on the school website, for further suggestions of foods to choose from the food pyramid.
A word about drinks
Although the Safe-Food Healthy Lunchbox Leaflet suggests unsweetened juice as a drink for mealtimes; water and milk are the best drinks. The school encourages children to bring only water and milk to school. Milk is an excellent source of calcium which is the main mineral present in bones and teeth. For children aged 9-18 years, 5 servings of calcium rich foods are recommended due to the importance of this mineral during this life stage. Water will be made available throughout the day/ Pupils are encouraged to bring a bottle of water to school. If children do not drink enough water, they may become dehydrated, thirsty, tired and weak.
We ask that children do not bring the following to school:
Snacks known to be high in sugar, saturated fat, salt, additives and preservatives, including the following:
· Crisps (including crisp-style snacks)
- Fizzy drinks
- Juice drinks/ Squashes
- Cereal bars
- Chocolate spread
- Sweet baked goods
- Dessert Style Yoghurts
- Processed Fruit Snacks
- Chewing gum
- Nut products (due to allergies)
Treat Days will only take place on special occasions (decided by the school).
Teachers and staff will provide positive modelling and support attitudes to encourage healthy eating including providing non-food related rewards.
So as to take a proactive approach to healthy lunches, children will be encouraged at all times to eat healthily. Parents are asked to be aware of the portion size appropriate to the child’s age and all uneaten food will be sent home so parents can monitor food consumption.
A very simple approach to healthy eating is to use the Food Pyramid.
Green Flag School
As you know the school has won Eight Green FLAGS. With this in mind and in order to keep litter to a minimum, children are also asked to:
- take home (in lunchbox) all uneaten food, silver paper, wrappings, containers and cartons
- put only fruit peel into the compost bins
- not bring in cans and glass – for safety reasons.
N.B. Parents/guardians of any child with a medical condition which requires a special diet should contact the school.
The ‘Healthy Eating Guidelines’ will be reviewed every two years and the policy will be visibly displayed in the school.