Healthy Heroes School of the Month

Encouraging children to eat healthily isn’t always the easiest of tasks, as any parent of school-goers will tell you. As with most people, if the children themselves decide what they want to eat, then the more likely it is, that they will stick with it! And if we can encourage them to choose the healthier options, then all the better, our job is done!

Children spend a large part of their day at school, so with that in mind, the Healthy Heroes Lunch Club was developed by teachers and behaviour change experts with the support of Dr Mary McCreery, a leading consultant nutritionist and dietician. The Clubs are run by 6th class / P7 pupils who, with the help of their teachers, help their classmates and younger children to improve their eating habits and increase their fitness levels through various lunchtime activities.

The club meets to eat lunch in school together and their teacher facilitates talks about foods that are nutritious and they can all discuss it together. Then the children take over and they run fun activities based on those suggested in the Healthy Heroes Lunch Club pack and they develop their own club games – child-led play at its best!

What’s great about this is that the children have input into the lunch club themselves, it’s a fun way to learn about nutritious food, about what foods are good for you and why they need bread and other foods to grow and develop.

There’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition, and the School of the Month is a great way to shine a light on the great activities and successes that some of the Healthy heroes Lunch Clubs have achieved! Each School of the Month receives a €250 voucher towards Healthy Heroes activities in their schools, which is a great incentive! They also get the very special Healthy Heroes award AND Healthy Heroes capes and T-shirts. Every child loves stickers so our Healthy Heroes stickers are very popular!

2024 has already seen some great Schools of the Month:

Rathgormack N.S., Co. Waterford, has a bunch of happy and healthy children that absolutely love to participate in healthy baked goodies. They have a cooker in the canteen that the eager pupil cooks often use and they take great pride in their cooking and baking skills often serving to the younger children too and even the adults, who are all very happy to sample! With their Healthy Heroes prize they plan to buy a slow cooker, a crepe maker and an electric mixer to add to the cooking collection for their eager mini chefs. It is a fun way of promoting healthy lunches and it fosters teamwork, communication and leadership qualities in looking out for their younger peers by cooking for them as a school activity.

Glencastle N.S., Co. Mayo didn’t have sufficient cooking and food preparation tools or PE resources. Winning the February School of the Month helped them to buy simple cooking tools to show the children how easy it is to prepare quick and healthy meals/snacks, and PE equipment to help organise and introduce different fun games and activities at lunchtime.

Monksland N.S. in Co. Louth established a Healthy Heroes Committee in 6th Class to run a Healthy Eating Week in the school for all classes. They visited each classroom to discuss healthy eating with posters they have designed and ran a tasting session for all classes where pupils sampled different sandwiches, snacks and fruit.

Finally, School of the Month for April was Scoil Na Croise Naofa, in Co. Donegal, have been promoting healthy eating in their school, while also trying out some nutritious sandwiches along the way. One pupil mentioned that ‘We enjoyed trying new sandwich recipes and fruits in our club’

The Healthy Heroes Lunch Club is brought to you by the Irish Bread Bakers Association, is proudly supported by Bord Bia and it’s now one of Ireland’s leading primary school nutrition programmes! Over 600 schools across the country take part in the programme annually since it began ten years ago.