Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award

Fuelling a productive and healthy workforce

With a quarter of the food eaten prepared and cooked outside of the home, workplaces play a key part in offering healthier food choices.

Staff are increasingly reliant on their workplaces to provide at least one, if not two of their daily meals.

Healthy eating can have a huge impact on how people feel during the day and their productivity.

In the short term, if we don’t eat regular, well-balanced healthy meals or drink enough water, we could be prone to headaches, feel sluggish or have difficulty concentrating. Long term, a healthy and balanced diet with adequate amounts of physical activity also helps reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, some cancers and coronary heart disease. Chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease and stroke, cause 7 in 10 premature deaths in Ireland. A healthy lifestyle can prevent 30% of cancers and 80% of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The World Health Organisation has identified workplace health programmes as one of the ‘best buy options’ for the prevention and control of chronic disease and for mental health and wellbeing.

What is the Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award?

The Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award is a unique health promotion programme created by the Irish Heart Foundation in the mid-1990s. We have continuously developed the programme over the past 25+ years with the support of the HSE. Through the award programme, catering facilities in healthcare services are assisted and supported to adopt healthier cooking practices and provide healthier food choices without incurring substantial costs. The process involves two tailored site visits – the catering assessment and monitoring visit – as well as all the dietitian’s advice and recommendations for your facility.


Achieving the Happy Heart Healthy Eating Award will help to:

– create a culture of health and wellbeing;

– provide a long-term sustainable programme;

– demonstrate a commitment to your facility’s staff wellbeing.


In 2021 we partnered with the HSE Healthy Eating Active Living Programme to support healthcare services and enable:

– the healthier choice to be the easier choice for staff and visitors;

– catering facilities in healthcare services to ensure healthy options are provided and promoted;

– food and beverage provision to be aligned with the HSE Nutrition Standards for provision of food and beverages to staff and visitors.

Healthy Eating Award Winners

There are three different levels of achievement for the award: bronze, silver, and gold. You can apply for any level but must meet the specific criteria.

Gold Award

Bon Secours Hospital Cork, Bon Secours Care Village

South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork

Cork University Hospital, Cork

St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork

St. Stephen’s Hospital, Cork

Saint John of God Carmona Services, Dublin

St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin

Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin

St. Vincent’s University Hospital Elm Park, Dublin

St. Vincent’s Hospital Fairview, Dublin

Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Laois

Portiuncula University Hospital Ballinasloe, Galway

Bon Secours Hospital, Galway

St. John’s Hospital, Limerick

Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, Limerick

University Maternity Hospital, Limerick

Our Lady’s Hospital Navan, Meath

University Hospital Kerry, Kerry

Sligo University Hospital, Sligo

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Clare

St. Camillus’ Hospital, Limerick

Roscommon University Hospital

Mayo University Hospital

University Hospital Galway

Naas General Hospital, Kildare

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Louth

Bloomfield Health Services, Dublin

Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin

The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Ennis

Saint John of God – Dublin South East Services, Co. Dublin

Q Cafe Ridgeways St Patricks Mental Health Service, Dublin 8

Nenagh Hospital, Tyone,  Tipperary

Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway

National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin


Letterkenny University Hospital, Donegal

St. Francis’s Hospice Raheny, Dublin

University Hospital Limerick

Saint Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, Dublin

National Rehabilitation Hospital Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin


Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin

Our Lady’s Hospital, Manorhamilton.

Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services Harold’s Cross, Dublin

UPMC Aut Even Hospital, Kilkenny

Milford Care Centre, Limerick

St. John of God Hospital Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Merchants Quay Ireland, Dublin 8

Ennis General Hospital UL Hospitals Group

Download Award Support Guide

This coordinator guide has been designed to support catering facilities in pursuit of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Award


What are the three award levels?

There are three different levels of achievement for the award: Bronze, Silver and Gold. You can apply for any level but must meet the specific criteria for that award.


Download the criteria checklist


Awards are presented at a national award ceremony each year. The award is valid for two years. You can re-apply for the award every two years. Our aim is to support every healthcare catering facility to achieve the highest standard possible, so we encourage sites re-applying to aim for the next level.

Who is eligible to apply?

Catering facilities that prepare and serve hot food on site in HSE sites and Section 38 and 39 funded health services can register for the award programme free of charge by contacting HealthyEating.ActiveLiving@hse.ie

Other healthcare services can access the award programme for a charge.

The application process

Email HealthyEating.ActiveLiving@hse.ie to register your interest in the award programme. You will be asked to complete a short survey which will be shared with the Irish Heart Foundation.

Once we receive your completed survey a member of the Irish Heart Foundation’s dedicated and experienced health promotion team will be in touch with you to talk you through the process and what is involved in being part of the Awards.

What our awardees say

“The Catering Department of St Vincent’s Private Hospital have been involved in the Irish Heart Foundation health initiatives for over 10 years, and believe as a hospital we should be providing healthy, nutritious food for staff. Having healthy choices available for staff assists them in making the right food choices and is ensuring that we help in their overall wellbeing. Achieving the Gold Award was an honour to the department’s commitment to providing nutritious, fresh, healthy food daily.– Yvonne Byrne, Catering Manager St Vincent’s Private Hospital


“The Healthy Eating Award had been on our horizon for several years. To achieve external accreditation based on very specific criteria that included complete food and beverage calorie posting, compliance of HSE Healthy Vending, and very structured and healthy menu options has led to greater customer satisfaction and confidence in our meal offerings, and this has been very rewarding for us. We play a leading role in the hospital staff Health and Wellbeing activities and feel a sense of pride, to be at such a high standard, providing customers with the tools to make informed healthy meal choices.” – Ian O’Gorman, Catering Manager Tallaght University Hospital.


Watch this testimonial from Cork University Hospital, Cork on the success of our Healthy Eating Awards at the hospital.

Healthy Eating Award - Downloadable Support Documents

Can’t find what you’re looking for? We want to support you every step of the way.

Contact us at info@irishheart.ie for ongoing professional support and expert advice from the Irish Heart Foundation.

Supported By

Healthy Ireland

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HSE Ireland

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