Healthy Eating Policy

As part of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Programme, at Glencovitt National School we encourage the children to become more aware of the need for healthy food in their lunch boxes.

What people eat is known to be a key factor influencing health.  Research indicates a strong link between diet and performance (e.g. a low sugar intake promotes concentration, lessens hyperactivity, protects teeth, and lessens the risk of Diabetes (Type 2). A low salt intake reduces the risk of heart disease in later life).  It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that children have a healthy lunch at school daily.

To promote healthy eating habits in our school, we introduced a healthy eating policy starting from September 2019.


  1. To promote the personal development and well-being of the child.
  2. To promote the health of the child and provide a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects.


  1. To enable the child to appreciate the importance of good nutrition for growing and developing and staying healthy.
  2. To enable the child to accept some personal responsibility for making wise food choices and adopting a healthy, balanced diet.

Lunch is an important meal for school-going children. It should provide one third of their recommended daily allowance of nutrients without being high in fat, sugar or salt. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of the children getting a good breakfast each morning before they come to school. Breakfast/ lunch should also provide dietary fibre (roughage). The traditional packed lunch of milk and sandwiches is under attack from a range of convenience foods like crisps, sweets, biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks. Parents and teachers are concerned about this trend but some find it difficult to come up with popular healthy alternatives. We ask you to encourage a healthy lunch right from the start.

The following guide is designed to help you provide quick, appetising, and nutritious lunches for your children. Children are encouraged not to share lunches in school, due to allergies/intolerances.

Bread & Alternatives  

Bread or rolls, preferably wholemeal

Rice – wholegrain

Pasta – wholegrain

Potato Salad

Wholemeal Scones

Bread sticks


Pitta bread

Rice cakes (plain)

Oat cakes


Soda bread





Lean Meat


Tinned Fish e.g. tuna/sardines


Vegetarian Sausage



Popcorn (lightly salted)

Fruit & Vegetables

Fruit &  berries

Seedless grapes

Cucumber, sweetcorn, tomato, carrot sticks


Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame etc.)





(with tiny amount of sugar-free diluted fruit juice if necessary)

A word about Milk

Growing children should get approximately one pint of milk a day, or its equivalent as cheese, yoghurt or milk pudding. This ensures that they get enough calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. If a child does not drink a glass of milk at lunch, encourage him to have a carton of yoghurt or a small helping of cheese instead.

We ask that the following are NOT brought to school:

Snacks known to be high in sugar, saturated fat, salt, additives and preservatives, including the following:

  • Crisps (including crisp-style snacks)
  • Sugary drinks (including fizzy fruit-flavoured water, fruit juices, etc)
  • Sweets
  • Biscuits/bars (unless homemade)
  • Cereal bars (unless homemade)
  • Chewing gum
  • Fruit winders
  • Lollipops

If such foods are brought to school, children will be asked to bring them home in their lunchboxes.

So as to take a proactive approach to healthy lunches, teachers will from time to time, reward children who can show a piece of fruit or other healthy foods in their lunchboxes.

Treat Day

Friday will be our treat day. Children will also be permitted to bring a treat on their birthday. The children are encouraged to eat the treat AFTER their lunch is eaten at 12.30pm. On this day, children can bring ONE of the following:

  • Treat/ fun sized bar.
  • Treat/ fun sized bag of sweets.
  • Small biscuit.
  • Small cereal bar (preferably homemade).
  • Small home-bakes.

Green Flag School

As we are also a Green Flag School, children are also asked to:

  • take home (in lunchbox) all uneaten food, silver paper, wrappings, containers and cartons.
  • put only fruit peel into the compost bins.
  • do not bring in cans and glass – for safety reasons.

Best Practice

  • Ensure your child starts the day with a good breakfast.
  • Eat small regular meals, not one big meal each day.
  • Children who take physical exercise each day will have a better appetite for healthy food.
  • Serve brown bread instead of white.
  • Cut large rolls/wraps/sandwiches into more manageable sizes.

Roles and Responsibilities in implementing our policy

Parents are responsible for providing a healthy school lunch for their child(ren). Children are encouraged to participate in making their own healthy school lunch. Teachers will explicitly teach about healthy eating as part of the SPHE curriculum.

N.B. Parents/guardians of any child with a medical condition which requires a special diet should contact the school. We should also be notified of any serious food allergies such as nuts.

This policy is available to view on our website and also on hard copy in our office by request. This policy will be reviewed every two years.

Signed: ____________________________________     Date: ___________________


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