independent

Monday 22 July 2019

Marshalstown kids are healthy heroes

Front row: Aoife Doyle; Laoise Walsh; John O’Neill and Tiernan Tyrrell demonstrating their healthy heroes lunch club; (Back row): Dr Elizabeth Finnegan (Bord Bia); Ailbhe Byrne (Food Drink Ireland /IBBA) and teacher Catherine McCarthy. Pictures Dylan Vaughan
Front row: Aoife Doyle; Laoise Walsh; John O’Neill and Tiernan Tyrrell demonstrating their healthy heroes lunch club; (Back row): Dr Elizabeth Finnegan (Bord Bia); Ailbhe Byrne (Food Drink Ireland /IBBA) and teacher Catherine McCarthy. Pictures Dylan Vaughan

Brendan Keane

Marshalstown National School has been named Healthy Heroes School of the Month for May in recognition of the students' efforts in promoting healthy eating.

The school is one of hundreds of primary schools across Ireland participating in the Healthy Heroes lunch club (HHLC) organised by the Irish Bread Bakers Association (IBBA) and Bord Bia.

Designed by teachers and behaviour change experts with the support of Dr Mary McCreery, one of Ireland's foremost consultant nutritionists and dieticians, the initiative is now in its sixth year.

Speaking about the healthy heroes programme in Marshalstown school teacher, Catherine McCarthy, said: 'The Healthy Heroes lunch club has helped to reinforce our good practices. All students are feeling more positive about healthy eating and as the committee visit each classroom twice a week to promote the club, the students are much more aware of what constitutes a healthy lunch.'

The HHLC initiative gives primary school children the opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer learning while also helping them change their eating habits.

'The older children who make up the committee have been working hard with teachers and by themselves on creating simple little interactive games for the younger children in other classes to play,' said Ms McCarthy, with regard to initiatives in Marshalstown.

'They try to reinforce what constitutes a healthy lunchbox,' she added.

Ailbhe Byrne oversees the programme on behalf of the IBBA and she said 'visiting Marshalstown demonstrated to me the success of the peer-to-peer aspect of the Healthy Heroes programme.'

She said the younger children enjoyed playing the creative games set up by the older pupils.

'We saw the older children's leadership, teamwork and communications skills in action,' said Ms Byrne.

Dr Elizabeth Finnegan, Healthy Eating Executive with Bord Bia, also visited Marshalstown to see the initiative working first-hand and commented: 'The Healthy Heroes programme has encouraged the children to improve their knowledge of food and where the items in their lunchboxes come from while at the same time supporting an interactive learning environment,'

Enniscorthy Guardian

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