During November and December of 2002, school policy on Healthy Eating has been the subject of review. We are very grateful to the many parents who responded to the survey, and their responses have been of tremendous assistance in drafting the revised policy. The results of the survey were as follows:
- Of the 391 families in the school, 249 surveys were completed and returned.
- There was a very positive response. Over 95% of respondents consider that healthy eating guidelines are necessary, and 95% of respondents were aware of the guidelines
- The average strength of feeling with regard to the necessity for guidelines was 4.25% (based on numbering 1-5)
- 89% felt that their child should have 1 treat during the school day
- 76% felt that crisps should not be brought to school
- 97% felt that sweets /sticky bars should not be allowed
- 94% felt that fizzy drinks should not be allowed
- 97% said that they were willing to follow the school’s guidelines
Suggestions for Inclusion
- Cereal bars, raisins, digestive biscuits, cheese strings, frubes and popcorn
- Choice of bread with a wider variety of fillings
- Crisps were suggested as inclusions, but the majority of parents did not favour allowing them to be included
- Initiatives such as healthy eating week, fruit break, fruit of the month and awards for healthiest lunch.
Trends across the School
- Respondents from Junior Infants to Second Class were more inclined to exclude treats completely
- The percentage of parents willing to follow the guidelines ranged from 100% in J. Infants to 94% in 5th and 6th Classes
Healthy Eating Policy
Healthy eating is central to a person’s overall well-being. As part of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), the children learn about healthy eating and nutrition. Our aim is to promote healthy eating at an early age in order to ensure good, lifelong, nutritional habits. Healthy eating is important for many reasons:
- Maintaining strong teeth and bones
- Improving concentration and behaviour
- Preventing obesity and heart conditions
- Balancing energy levels
It is school policy that pupils’ lunches will consist of some of the following:
- bread (white or wholemeal), rolls, crackers or pasta
- sandwich fillings of any choice (suggestions – meats, cheese, salad, jam, chocolate spread)
- natural fruit juice, diluted fruit juice, yoghurt drinks, water or milk
- healthy snacks such as fruit, fruit winders, fruit salad, cereal bars, raisins (or other dried fruits), cheese strings, frubes, yoghurts, popcorn
Children may be given one treat per day (chocolate bar, biscuit or pack of mini biscuits)
Chewing gum, cans, fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets or sticky bars are forbidden.
There will be a school-wide effort to implement the policy. One warning will be given, and if banned foods or drinks are brought into school a second time, they will be confiscated and returned at the end of the school day. This revised policy will be implemented from Monday, 13 January 2003.
One of our pupils has a condition called anaphylaxis where he can have a life-threatening reaction to foods such as eggs, nuts and peanut butter. In view of the fact that the pupils meet in class / at Assembly / in the yard / on the way to and from school, it is our considered view that all parents would appreciate the need to ensure that these foods are not brought to school by any of our pupils.
We thank parents once more for their support in developing this policy, and we look forward to their continued co-operation in its implementation.