Healthy Lunch Policy

As parents and educators, we are all very conscious of the importance of our children’s diet and how it can impact their health, development and well-being. Children spend a significant part of their day in school and it’s very Healthy Lunch 1important that we encourage them to eat healthily during that time. Having children generally eating the same types of foods is key to ensuring the successful implementation of this policy.

To encourage this, a representative group of parents, teachers and pupils from our Student Council have worked together to review our existing policy. The successful implementation of this policy is an important step in promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children. All families and pupils are asked to cooperate with the implementation of this policy.

What are the advantages of having a Health Lunch Policy?

  • The aim of a healthy lunch policy is to help encourage our children to eat healthy foods at school which will assist them in developing a positive lifelong attitude towards healthy eating.
  • The combination of a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep assists pupils in reaching their academic potential.
  • Eating habits formed at this early stage tend to stay with children throughout their lives.
  • The combination of healthy eating and being active guards against obesity and the onset of certain illnesses.
  • Healthy eating is very important in the care of our children’s teeth.

A healthy lunch box should help to improve our childrens attention, behaviour and learning throughout the day. It should contain:

  • A source of Protein to keep children alert
  • Complex Carbohydrates for slow release energy
  • Calcium for growth, healthy bones and teeth
  • Fruit and Vegetables for Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals
  • Drinks: To keep the children hydrated during the day.


make sandwiches using fillings such as chicken, hard boiled egg, ham, salmon, tuna or cheese or make up simple salads such as Chicken Caesar salad or Tuna Pasta salad

Complex Carbohydrates:

these release energy slowly and help to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Try to use wholegrain, wholemeal or brown bread/rolls. Also try pitta bread, ciabbatta, bagels, naan breads, wraps, scones, fruit loafs, currant buns, banana bread or crackers. Also pasta, couscous and rice, wholewheat pasta and brown rice are better (try mixing white and brown together).


Cheese, milk, yogurt, fromage frais, yogurt drinks, smoothies and milkshakes are all excellent sources of calcium.

Fruit and Vegetables:

We should try to include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Make it easy for the children to eat the fruit. Peel it and chop it in to bite size pieces or strips that they can hold easily. Wrap in damp kitchen towel to prevent it drying out. Also try dried and tinned fruit. Try cherry tomatoes, apples, pears, grapes melon, kiwi, nectarine, raisins, currants, dried apricots (excellent source of vitamins and minerals), carrot, peppers, cucumber, and sweetcorn. Add salad to the sandwiches.


Water and milk are the best choice as they are tooth friendly and milk provides valuable calcium for the child, however 100% fruit juice can be used as an alternative.

Monday – Thursday

In order to assist with the successful implememtation of this policy we have decided that all pupils should bring a healthy lunch to school each day of the week, but that


We all enjoy a treat from time to time. To encourage children to abide by this healthy lunch policy children may bring one item from the list below in addition to a nutritious lunch:

  • Biscuits,cakes etc.
  • Diluted squash drinks
  • Home baking treats
  • Chocolate snack bars

The Following Items Should Never Be Included In School Lunches:

  • Popcorn
  • Crisps and all related products, e.g. Snax, Wheelies, Pringles
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Chocolate eggs/crème eggs
  • Winders and similar products
  • Nuts (due to concerns about choking and allergy)

Children With Special Dietary Requirements:

Children with special dietary requirements and/or allergies will at all time be facilitated to choose foods to suit their own individual requirements. Parents should discuss this with the class teacher to avoid any misunderstanding. We would also urge parents, when preparing lunches, to be aware of nut based products. Primary schools now have an increasing number of pupils who are allergic to nuts or nut based products, so we ask you to be cognizant of this fact as you prepare your childs lunch.

Making Lunches:

  • Children are more likely to eat their lunches when it is presented to them in a fun/interesting manner.
  • Pack fun napkins, decorate lunch bags with stickers or cut sandwiches into novelty shapes.
  • Most children will leave food that takes a lot of effort to eat so make it easy by peeling fruit etc.
  • Talk to your child and ask him what he enjoyed in his lunchbox.
  • Look at what comes back uneaten and ask why.
  • Ask if there are foods that other children bring that they would like to try.

In Considering Food Options Be Aware Of The Following:

Healthy LunchThere are lots of foods that are marketed and labeled as “healthy” and ‘ideal for lunchboxes’ that may not be the best to give your child on a regular basis.

Cereal bars:

many of these cereal bars can contain up to 40% sugar and 30% fat. Sugar eaten in a bowl of cereal tends to get washes away by the milk, in these sticky bars the sugar tends to stick to the teeth causing maximum damage.

Cheese strings:

these and similar foods tend to be highly processed and contain large amount of salt and saturated fats. One single serving may contain the recommended daily amount of salt for a child.

Flavoured yogurts:

the once healthy yoghurt now often comes attached to a pack of confectionary to stir in. These may contain up to five teaspoons of sugar per serving.

Fruit Juice Drinks:

pure fruit juice contains 100% fruit juice as you would expect. However a “fruit juice drink” may contain as little as 6% juice. Many of these drinks are really only juice flavoured sugary water and contain more water and sugar than actual “fruit juice”.

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Scoil Náisiúnta an Chroí Naofa,


County Cork.

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