Schools Healthy Eating Award

Why healthy food needs to be the norm in every school. At present, 1 in 5 teenagers in Ireland are overweight or obese and only 1 in 5 young people eat the recommended five or more fruit and vegetables a day.

Research has also now revealed that childhood obesity is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke. So we must tackle it together. At home and in our schools.

Irish Heart Foundation research has identified that 90% of schools offer some form of food provision; and in this varied catering environment, 95% of schools would welcome a national School Catering Standard.

That’s why the School Healthy Eating Award programme is helping to set and facilitate a nationwide School Catering Standard for post primary schools – for those who wish to promote and offer healthy food choices for their children and staff.

Would you like to be part of this movement? Join the Schools Healthy Eating Award programme and celebrate your commitment to improving the school food environment for everyone.


Your School – The Key Benefits



Your Students and Staff – The Key Benefits



How to achieve the Award?



How long does the Award last?


The Award lasts for two years, but the benefits of reaching the standard are seen immediately and these benefits can last a lifetime for your students & staff.


Who can apply for the Award?


The awards are open to all post-primary schools with on-site catering.

For more information, please contact the Irish Heart Foundation team via email or call us on 01 6685001.




Ken Boland, Caterer at Castletroy College

Castletroy College is a mixed gender school in Co. Limerick. It caters for a potential 1,200 students and the catering service is provided by The School Food Company.

Ken Boland, Castletroy’s caterer, highlighted the benefits for everyone: “The School Healthy Eating Award programme recognises food providers who are serving fresh, healthy meals that are tasty, appeal to young people and are nutritionally balanced. The programme has given us an opportunity as caterers to celebrate the food choice and quality we offer. The award offers the school staff, parents, students and the wider community reassurance that we are caterers that provide only the best food for our students.”

Castletroy College is just one example that goes to prove the close partnerships we enjoy with schools and our belief in serving delicious, freshly-prepared meals using healthy ingredients and a varied menu choice.


Caitriona Cunningham, Teacher at Donahies Community School

The Donahies Community School is a mixed gender school in Dublin with around 560 students. They offer a canteen services for students, provided by Glanmore Foods.

Mrs Caitriona Cunningham, Teacher and coordinator of the school food committee sums up the experience up from start to finish, “in coming forward for the award we hoped to offer more variety of healthy choices to our existing menu and encourage students to eat more fruit and to cut down on sugar content of a small number of items on the menu.”


The programme in the school has made students aware of the importance of eating.

Caitriona Cunningham, Teacher at Donahies Community School, Dublin

Caitriona Cunningham, Teacher at Donahies Community School, Dublin continued:

“In addition as teachers we are using the classroom to educate about a healthy well-balanced diet to promote their academic performance in school. This is helping improve focus during school time and encourages students to make healthier food choices to keep them in good health.

The new menu shows that eating healthy doesn’t mean the food has to be boring as the award shows that our school is serving nutritious dishes and snacks and are full of flavour, which will hopefully encourage healthier eating habits outside of their school day too.”


How we engaged the students in the programme:

Catriona said; “We spoke to students about the choices and they seemed very keen. The school put up a survey to find out the attitudes on changing the school menu and this showed to be quite positive. They gave ideas on what they would like too.

There was a small amount of students at the beginning that preferred the older menu but this attitude changed to a positive one when the students realised they had far more options on the school menu and that eating healthy nutritious food has many health benefits for them. Staff had a very positive outlook on menu changes.”

Student Comments from Awarded Schools


“There is a much better choice of sandwich fillings including salad at no extra cost, instead of breaded chicken every day”

“We really enjoyed cooking the healthier choice recipe selection and then offering student taste tests to decide on the most popular items that were chosen for sale in the canteen”

“The new toasted sandwiches are really popular and great to have on colder days when we want something warm and tasty”

“We now get free water and fruit with our meal deal, it’s really good value”

More Initiatives & Resources for Schools


Slí@Schools – aims to promote more walking during the school day through the use of motivational signage and the establishment of mapped, measured walking routes within the school grounds.

CPR 4 Schools – aims to train a generation of students who will have the skills and confidence to perform CPR in cardiac emergencies. The Irish Heart Foundation is equipping post primary schools free of charge to deliver video driven training to classes.

View our Happy Heart @ School flyer

Who’s Feeding the Kids Online – read our report

Obesity Policy

IHF Welcomes Obesity Strategy




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