Healthy eating goes digital in two Limerick schools

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Hazelwood College, Dromcollogher principal Brendan Burke (centre, left) with Ken Boland of The School Food Company and first year students Chris Boyce (left) and Ronan Cahill (right).
TWO Limerick schools are to take part in a digital school dinner programme that will allow parents to keep tabs on what their children are eating.

TWO Limerick schools are to take part in a digital school dinner programme that will allow parents to keep tabs on what their children are eating.

Castletroy College and Hazelwood College, Dromcollogher are to link up with The School Food Company to roll out a programme that will encourage parents to “actively participate” in their child’s diet, in a bid to promote healthier eating in teenagers.

The programme will see students use digital tags to pay for meals and snacks, with parents able to top-up their account online and keep tabs on what their children have been buying.

Brendan Burke, principal of Hazelwood College, said that the system will help encourage healthier eating among school children.

“As a school we understood the importance of a healthy lifestyle for our students, we wished to have the best quality food and innovative service available to our students. We felt that ‘The School Food Company’s ethos best fit with our curriculum and needs. Parents can now top up their child’s account online and actively participate in what their child is consuming.”

The new system is to be rolled out in Castletroy and Hazelwood next month, as well as in schools in Scariff, Ennis and Ennistymon.

Ken Boland of The School Food Company said that the pilot project is the first of its kind in Ireland, and will form part of a broader push to get healthier foods into Irish schools.

“Parents will be able to top up their child’s account online… the cashless catering benefits both students and parents. Parents can now see and know what their children are eating and kids don’t have to worry about losing money.

“Another benefit is that food allergies can be input by parents and this will feed into certain menu options for their child.”

Mr Boland said that an improved diet has a positive impact on a child’s performance in school, something which the company is encouraging with free fruit days, healthier eating options and more.

“Our ethos is simple: to help children and young people make healthier food choices by making healthy food available in schools.”