Primary school teachers from County Westmeath, recently joined teaching colleagues from across the region for a Food Dudes Presentation Day at the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, to celebrate the achievements of 540 schools that have completed their three-year participation in the award-winning Food Dudes Programme.
The three-year curriculum-linked programme includes a year of intervention, followed by two in-school Food Dudes Weeks, aimed at promoting health eating habits amongst primary school children. The healthy eating programme encourages children to eat more fresh produce and is based on repeated tastings of fresh fruit and vegetables, rewards and positive role models.
A new and improved Food Dudes programme is currently being rolled out in schools and includes new varieties of fruits and vegetables, additional tasting days, new eco-friendly rewards, as well as new teaching and learning materials which include videos, recipes and a range of bilingual activities.
The Food Dudes Presentation Days provide teachers with an opportunity to network and feel part of a community of change. Ideas about ways in which the Food Dudes programme can be integrated into the curriculum and daily routines are shared, and peer to peer support is encouraged.
There are currently 1,700 primary schools engaged in the three-year Food Dudes programme, creating a movement of life-long change embedding healthy eating within the school and wider community in a way that promotes healthy eating habits amongst children, helps to reduce obesity rates, and improve overall wellbeing. Over the lifetime of Food Dudes, over 3,300 primary schools and more than one million pupils have taken part.
The Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme is managed by Bord Bia in Ireland and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with support from the European Union under the School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme. The programme was first developed by the Food Activity Research Unit, School of Psychology at Bangor University, Wales.
More information about the Food Dudes Programme can be found at www.fooddudes.ie