Healthy Eating

HEALTHY EATING

Dear Parents/Guardians,
We have had a Healthy Eating Policy in Piercestown NS for the past 10 years. Our Healthy Eating Booklet was first launched in the spring of 2004 by the Healthy Eating Working group which represented by teachers and parents.
Education about diet and nutrition is a part of SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education). We regularly revise the topic of Healthy Eating throughout the year. When you provide your children with healthy lunches you
help learning and concentration;
improve overall health and well-being;
help maintain healthy teeth;
promote a balanced diet:
produce less litter.

Elaine McMahon, a dental health promotion officer from HSE Office in Grogan’s Road has been promoting water and milk as ‘tooth-friendly’ drinks as part of the Mighty Mouth Dental Programme over the past two years. Some other drinks are not as good for tooth health. Obviously fizzy drinks are not suitable and even fruit juices and squash-type drinks are not as healthy as one might presume. If your children really don’t like water or milk you could dilute unsweetened fruit juice with water. Try to keep fruit juices for meal times as the saliva produced eating a full meal will help neutralise the damage done by the sugars and fruit acids.

Your child’s lunch box should contain some carbohydrates. They need this type of starchy food to give them the energy the need to play, learn, sleep and keep going. Carbohydrates are also an important source of fibre in the diet. The following carbohydrates are suitable for school lunches:
brown or white bread
brown or white pitta breads
wraps or breadsticks
pasta
rice
bagel
pizza slices
flatbread portions
crackers or crispbreads

Healthy protein based food, to go in your child’s sandwiches or with other carbohudrate type food is important too. Protein is important for growth and development and helps build strong muscles. Good protein foods for school lunches include …
meats (ham, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, grilled rasher)
beans and pulses (or spreads made from these)
fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)

Dairy products provide calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Children’s bodies have 206 bones that are alive and growing. It is recommended that we choose three foods from this group per day. Examples of suitable lunch-time dairy products are …
small carton of milk
yogurt
yogurt drinks
fromage frais
portions/slices/grated hard cheese
soft cheese
cartons of rice or custard

A variety of five or more vegetables and fruits are recommended daily. They are packed full of vitamins to keep our body healthy. Children often prefer smaller sized fruit and vegetables that can be handled easily. Suitable vegetable and fruit lunch choices include …
cherry tomatoes
slices of peppers
sugar snaps
mange tout peas
carrot sticks
celery sticks
slices of cucumber
shredded lettuce
mandarin/satsumas
orange sections
melon cubes
grapes
bananas
kiwi fruit
apples or pears
blueberries, raspberries or strawberries

Although dried fruits such as raisins are good if taken as part of a meal in one go, the very high levels of natural sugars contained in them make them unsuitable for snacking on over the course of the day.

As part of our Healthy Eating Policy and as part of the Green School Programme we strongly discourage:
crisps or any crisp type snacks (popcorn is a healthy alternative)
sweets
bars or chocolates
chewing gum

Thank you for taking time to read this Healthy Lunches report. We hope it will help you when you next buy and make lunch for your children.

Bon Appetit!
Dolores Byrne
Healthy Eating Co-ordinator
21st January 2014

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