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New nutrition standards for school meals

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 25/09/2017. New nutrition standards for school mealsTags: Education And Politics Parenting Teachers

The Minister for Health, the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection today jointly launched new Nutrition Standards for the State’s School Meals Programme. These will ensure the programme follows the national Healthy Eating Guidelines.

The introduction of the new nutrition standards means that only healthy food choices that meet the Standards will be funded for breakfast clubs, school lunches and snacks, afterschool clubs and school dinners.

The School Meals programme, which has a budget of almost €50 million, benefits almost 250,000 children across Ireland, with priority being given to those schools in the DEIS programme.

The Standards outline healthy and balanced choices for each meal or snack, which align with the revised food pyramid and guidelines. They state that certain foods and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar should be not be offered to children and will not be funded. The Standards also emphasise that milk and water are the best drinks to serve children.

Speaking at the launch Minister for Health Simon Harris said “Good nutrition for children and ensuring they are given healthy foods is a key priority for me and the Department of Health. This is important for maintaining a healthy weight for children, as well as supporting healthy growth and development. These new Standards will ensure the provision of regular and nutritious food to all the children who benefit from this very important scheme and will make a major contribution towards their lifelong health. I know that this simple measure will have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of many children and their families across Ireland.”

Minister Doherty said “My Department has increased the funding for the School Meals Programme by €5.5 million this year which will benefit over 250,000 children in the coming school year – this number continues to grow as more and more schools sign up for the School Meals Programme including the recently designated DEIS schools. This is an important Programme which helps encourage better school attendance and educational achievement by children, especially those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. The introduction of these Standards will ensure that the State’s investment in this important scheme is even more beneficial to children and their families, and help support the broader aims of good school attendance and educational achievement which are key to addressing child poverty.”

..... Read the full Press Release here

View the new Nutrition Standards for School Meals here


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