I began delivering nutrition and health promotion initiatives in schools as far back as 1994 when I worked as a Nutritionist for the National Dairy Council. I continued working with pre-schools, primary schools and post-primary schools when employed as a Health Promotion Dietitian in the HSE and continue to be passionate about the area of schools nutrition as a freelance Dietitian.
I believe that healthy habits are formed in childhood and that it is vital that we encourage healthy options for children at every opportunity. Over the years, I have helped many schools to develop a healthy school food policy and from there, to develop and implement ongoing health promoting initiatives involving the children, teachers, parents and the wider community.
I also lecture on the nutrition minor specialism module in St. Pat’s DCU to 3rd and 4th year BEd students, who are training to become primary school teachers. This offers me a unique opportunity to promote the importance of nutrition to young teachers before they embark on their teaching careers. They in turn have taught me much in terms of being creative in my approach when working with school children of all ages.
I was commissioned by Healthy Food For All to research and write ‘A Guide of Best Practice on School Food Initiatives’ published in 2009. The guide may be downloaded here – http://http://healthyfoodforall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Good-practice-guide-for-SFIs.pdf
Check out this link to Irish TV featuring one of the schools I have worked with highlighting a 6 week health initiative we ran in 2015. This is an example of a schools project which started out with a school food policy and grew organically from there to be a shining example of a true health promoting school.