Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ students Isabella Halvey, Aine Scanlan, Chleo McInerney and Anna Odufuwa going for the healthy options available on the lunch menu
WITH most secondary schools in Limerick now started back for the new school year, parents have been urged to encourage their children to eat healthier lunches in school.
As childhood obesity is still on the rise, having a healthy and nutritious lunch during school time is as important as ever.
John Kelly of the school completion programme at Colaiste Chiarain, Croom, said that the school has introduced “healthy options to kids to try and change dietary habits and increase energy and academic attainment”.
Their lunch menu includes healthy calorie-counted options such as sandwiches and wraps and hot options like chicken curry and rice or pasta with “different sauces which are calorie counted and have a big emphasis on reduced salt and reduced fat content and high protein,” said Mr Kelly.
They also offer “plenty of fruit and greek yoghurt, water and milk”.
He also said that currently, the students can bring in their own packed lunches, but the school is pushing to “make it 100% on-site because the only thing they can buy in the canteen are the healthy options”.
He added that it’s vital that teenagers are “getting good quality food” because less nutritious options can make them “sleepy” and won’t provide “energy during the day”.
Principal at Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ Aedin Ni Bhriain said that most of her students “bring in their own lunch, but they might supplement it with something from the school shop”.
The school shop, she said, provides “hot rolls, a variety of white and brown bread sandwiches and wraps, some fruit, some juices and there are some sweets and chocolate as well”. They also offer soup in the winter.
She also said that the over-consumption of fizzy drinks and confectionary items are not a problem in the school.
“A lot of the girls bring in different teas because we have boilers to heat whatever drink you want and a lot of the girls drink water too,” she explained.
She added that while the school currently has no ban on such items, she would “have no hesitation in banning” them if the need arose.
For ideas and tips on healthy school lunches, visit http://www.safefood.eu/Publications/Consumer-info/Healthy-lunchboxes.aspx