Foods containing a high amount of fat, salt or sugar will be banned from school dinners as part of new healthy eating standards announced by the Government today.
Changes to the school meals programme will see unhealthy meals being defunded by the Government.
The new standards contain guidelines for a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner which schools must adhere to if they want to receive funding for the provision of meals.
According to The Irish Mirror, only healthy foods that meet the new standards will be funded for breakfast clubs, school lunches and snacks, after-school clubs and school dinners.
The new guidelines emphasise the importance of a balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and promote milk and water as the healthiest drinks for kids.
For example, a breakfast club can now offer a child one serving of a wholegrain cereal or wholegrain bread for breakfast, with a choice of a piece of fruit or a serving of milk, yoghurt or cheese.
The Government provides almost €50 million in funding to the school meals programme, and the programme feeds almost 250,000 disadvantaged kids every year.
Students from disadvantaged schools in the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme are given priority for school meals.
According to The Journal, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, has increased the funding for the scheme by €5.5 million this year.
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Health Minister Simon Harris said: “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 well-being of many children and their families across Ireland.”
Minister Harris said that good nutrition is important for maintaining a healthy weight for children, as well as supporting healthy growth and development.
More information about the new guidelines can be found here.
What do you think, mums? Are you pleased to see healthier school meals? Let us know.