INTRODUCTION & RATIONALE:
This policy was formulated by Staff and Board of Management in May 2007. It was reviewed in May 2009 and again in June 2011.
As part of the S.P.H.E. programme we encourage children to become aware of the need for healthy food in their lunch boxes. Lunch is an important meal for school going children. It should provided one third of their recommended daily allowance of nutrients, including fibre, without being high in fat, sugar or salt.
Children from first class up are exposed to the food pyramid (SPHE). This helps them to perceive all foods as good but realise that some should be consumed less often and in smaller quantities. These points are also made to parents at the induction meeting for junior infants in June and outlined in the schools handbook. Parents are reminded of the many healthy alternatives available to the high salt/sugar convenience foods they might have been tempted to include in their children’s lunch boxes.
What children eat is known to be one of the key factors influencing their long term health and well being. The school day provides an opportunity for having at least one of the daily meals within the school. Food is often a feature of school celebrations. The curriculum provides an opportunity to learn about and explore food and healthy lifestyles. Through these guidelines St. Mogue’s N.S. Ballyconnell, aims to help all those involved in our school community ( children, staff and parents) to develop positive and responsible attitudes to eating and to appreciate the contribution that good food makes to health.
Parents please help your child to concentrate at school by ensuring they have a balanced breakfast, including a drink
1. We increase childrens awareness of the fact that a healthy lunchbox includes a helping of food from the first four shelves of the food pyramid. Children will be reminded of this regularly. Any child who consistently brings unhealthy choices of food in their lunchbox will be reminded of our healthy eating policy.
2. First break in our school has traditionally been a “fruit” break but some of the other healthy snacks that we encourage for the small break include vegetables, cheese portions, crackers, and yoghurt. Dessert yoghurts, cereal bars, chocolate, crisps, cakes and biscuits are not advisable due to their high sugar content. Similarly with processed cheeses eg. strings and dips which have a very high salt content for children.
3. Healthier choices of drink include water and milk. Filtered water is freely available from each tap outlet in the school and children can avail of the daily milk delivery to school. Sugary, acidy drinks and diluted squash are not recommended as frequent consumption of these put teeth at risk of dental decay. Children are encouraged to bring a bottle of water so that they can have a drink of water at intervals during the day.
4.Cans, glasses, chewing gum or fizzy drinks are not permitted for health, safety and litter reasons. Foods which have wrappers are to be kept to a minimum and disposed of properly to reduce litter and protect our school environment.
5.Nutrition and our healthy eating policy will be reflected in the primary school curriculum eg.
History -Strand unit - food and farming -the story of milk.
Science - Strand unit - Human Life - importance of food for energy and growth.
Geography - Strand unit - People living and working in the local area and in contrasting parts of Ireland. - looking at farming and production of food.
P.E. and parent supported activities eg. Games for Life
6. All staff will provide positive modelling and support attitudes to encourage healthy eating and drinking of water.
7. All new parents will be informed of the school’s healthy eating policy when their child enrols in the school.
8. The “Healthy Eating Guidelines” will be reviewed on an annual basis and the policy will be displayed in the school.
9.The implementation of the school’s “Healthy Eating Policy” will be monitored regularly..
We believe this policy encourages a healthy perception of food and respects the rights of parents to feed their children as they see fit, while helping them to make informed choices.