School dinners to avoid foods high in sugar, salt and fat through new standards
Foods high in sugar, salt and fat are to be banned from school dinners, the Government has announced.
Unhealthy school meals will no longer receive state funding following changes to the school meals programme.
The new healthy eating standards were launched by Government ministers on Monday. They outline healthy and balanced choices for each meal and snack provided for children under the scheme.
Under the changes only healthy foods that meet the standards will be funded for breakfast clubs, school lunches and snacks, after-school clubs and school dinners.
The standards emphasise the role of salads, fruit and vegetables in a healthy diet. They also emphasise that milk and water are the best drinks to serve children.
Any schools that continue to provide students with unhealthy meals will have their school meals funding scrapped.
The school meals programme has a budget of almost 50 million euro a year and benefits almost 250,000 children across Ireland, with priority being given to disadvantaged schools in the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme.
Health Minister Simon Harris said good nutrition is important for maintaining a healthy weight for children, as well as supporting healthy growth and development.
Speaking at the launch in Dublin, Mr Harris added: "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 wellbeing of many children and their families across Ireland."