Philly McMahon and Kellie Harrington are empowering primary school children to adopt healthy eating habits while promoting the importance of physical activity.

Sporting heroes encourage healthy eating habits

During the recent pandemic lockdown, Irish schoolchildren attending DEIS schools were chosen to receive healthy eating food packs containing fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy. In addition to perishable and non-perishable provisions provided to DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools by the Department of Social Protection under the ‘School Meals Scheme’, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provided a supplementary weekly pack containing whole fresh fruit and vegetables and dairy to children during the recent school closures.

In Ireland, the EU School Fruit and Vegetable and Milk schemes are implemented in primary schools under the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme delivered by Bord Bia and the Moo Crew Programme delivered by the National Dairy Council (NDC

To support the programmes and roll-out to schools, NDC and Bord Bia have joined forces to create series of new educational videos, targeting schools under the DEIS Plan which will be available to schools from April 12th. These videos featuring new ambassadors, All Ireland GAA footballer Philly McMahon and World Champion Boxer Kellie Harrington will empower primary school children to adopt healthy eating habits while promoting the importance of physical activity. The videos are a joint collaboration between the Food Dudes and School Milk Scheme programmes.

Supporting the roll out of the new scheme and the educational videos to schools this week, the Minister for Agriculture. Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, commented: “I welcome the new educational videos to support schoolchildren in making healthy food choices. We are all aware of the positive influences that strong role models can have on our children, and Kellie Harrington and Philly McMahon have both achieved amazing successes through hard work and discipline. I would like to thank them both for their participation in these videos. I am delighted that my Department is helping to support school children during these challenging times, in collaboration with the National Dairy Council and Bord Bia. This new healthy eating initiative follows on from the successful food Dudes home delivery programme that was put in place for DEIS school children in early January this year.”

In line with the objective of the EU School Scheme, that is to support children in increasing their consumption of fruit, vegetables and dairy, each weekly pack contained enough fruit and vegetables for each child, i.e., one weeks’ worth of their recommended daily portions. In addition, each pack contained ‘recipe cards’ enticing families to take up a new skill and learn to cook some family-friendly meals using the contents of each pack.

Since reopening, DEIS schools now have the option to implement one of three new programme models to best suit their needs. These models include 16 days intervention and/or up to 10 weeks of fruit and vegetable deliveries supported by accompanying measures in the form of recipe cards, booklets, activities and family recipe videos.

Kellie said: “There wasn’t much to do when I was younger so I took up boxing when I was about 14 years of age and it kept me out of trouble. When I joined my local boxing club it gave me discipline and a plan and set me on the right path. When I won the gold medal at the World Boxing Championships in 2018, it was the most amazing feeling. All the hard work and effort paid off! A lot of my achievements are down to hard work, eating the right food and getting plenty of rest. I’m really excited to be able to share some of my top tips with today’s kids starting out and hopefully inspire them to go on to achieve great things."

The new inspiring videos with Kellie and Philly will show the role that healthy eating can play in achieving sporting success. The videos were filmed under social distanced protocols at the Sport Ireland campus in Blanchardstown.

Philly added: “A lot of my success has come down to being focused, training hard and eating well. Winning All-Ireland titles made me realise that I can help others and I’m really excited to share some of my top tips to help you on and off the pitch! This is a really great initiative by the NDC and Bord Bia to help young kids in disadvantaged parts of Ireland to believe that if you work hard and believe in yourself the possibilities are endless!”

Food Dudes is an award-winning curriculum-linked healthy eating programme, developed to encourage children to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Moo Crew’ is the schools programme from the NDC and is a trusted tool for parents and pupils across Ireland developed in consultation with primary teachers and the Irish primary school curriculum, registered nutritionists and farming organisations. It highlights the importance of the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The roll out will be to approximately 110 DEIS schools and is expected to reach 17,500 pupils. For more information on these new resource packs and videos please www.fooddudes.ie and www.moocrew.ie

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