Tuesday 18 September 2018

Lamb skewers, tagine and minted spuds - Is this Ireland's most delicious school lunch menu?

New rules banning junk food from public school lunches were launched last month – and one Irish primary school has a menu that certainly reaches new standards in school food.

Breakfast clubs, school lunches and snacks, afterschool clubs and school dinners will have to be junk-free zones from now
on. Stock Image: Getty
Breakfast clubs, school lunches and snacks, afterschool clubs and school dinners will have to be junk-free zones from now on. Stock Image: Getty

Neil Fetherston

New rules banning junk food from public school lunches were launched last month – and one Irish primary school has a menu that certainly reaches new standards in school food.

Last month, Health Minister Simon Harris announced a crackdown on meals that are high in calories and low in nutrition in a new drive to tackle obesity.

More than 250,000 school pupils, many from disadvantaged areas, receive school meals at a cost of around €50 million a year.

However, the fare in Castle Park School in Dalkey in South County Dublin, a private primary school, is certainly setting a new standard.

The menu for pupils there changes every day and here are just some of the dishes, sides and desserts that have been on offer in recent weeks:

  • Indian Spiced Vegetable Biryani
  • Spiced Lamb Kofta Skewer, Mint & Mango Chutney
  • Rustic Style BBQ Chicken, Baby Spinach & Red Onion
  • Pulled beef brisket, horseradish cream & sourdough crust
  • Traditional Cottage Pie with a Crispy Sweet Potato & Garlic Topping
  • Moroccan Style Vegetable & Apricot Tagine with CousCous
  • Roast Butter Basted Turkey Butterfly, Sage & Redcurrant Jus
  • Caramelised sweet red onion and goats’ cheese bouchee
  • Charred Vine Tomato, Fennel & Parmesan Bruschetta
  • Golden Baked Pork, Apple & New Potato Cornish Pasty
  • Creamed Potato Champ
  • Vichy Style Carrot Battons
  • Cold Meats with a Selection of Ten Different Salads
  • Chicken & Mushroom Vol au Vent
  • Minted Baby Boiled Potatoes
  • New Season Turnips with Rosemary
  • Homemade Rich Gingerbread Cake Butterscotch Sauce
  • Bramley Apple & Mixed Berry Crumble, Warm Custard
  • Selection of Fresh Fruit

The State has finally moved to ensure that children in national schools are eating healthy too.

Last month Health Minister Simon Harris, Education Minister Richard Bruton and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty launched meal plans aimed at reducing obesity rates in children.

From now on chips, sausages and chicken nuggets are only allowed once a week and ice cream, butter and cream are off the menu at the country’s national schools.

The new €50m School Meals programme bans crisps, chocolate, cake and biscuits in favour of healthier snacks like fruit or salad.

New guidelines focus on portion control as well as urging schools to provide wholemeal and wholegrain breakfast cereals followed by one serving of meat, poultry, eggs, beans, cheese or nuts.

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