Children and young peoples’ decision making around healthy food choices can be made more balanced in just 15 minutes, it has been revealed today.
Since opening in 2016, RADAR, the interactive safety and life skills education centre in Belfast, has welcomed over 30,000 young people from ages 9 to 17+ years old, and thanks to facility sponsor SPAR Northern Ireland, has been able to make positive changes to what they are perceiving as healthy food choices and balanced meals.
SPAR is at the heart of the RADAR village, and is utilised for healthy eating workshops primarily, using the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Eatwell Guide. Students and pupils are asked to choose products to make up a healthy meal, and then informed on what better choices could be made.
In the Northern Ireland National Diet and Nutrition Survey, it was reported that 96% of children aged 11-18 years old here, did not meet the five-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetables. Key findings also concluded that boys aged 11-18 years old exceeded the maximum recommended consumption of red and processed meat.
The workshop at SPAR in RADAR takes just 12-15 minutes and is based on the Eatwell Guide, which has been tested extensively with NI consumers and health professionals and provides recommendations for a diet that would provide all the nutrients required for a healthy balanced diet for adults and children over the age of two.
Joanne Casey, Dietitian and Senior Advisor on Dietary Health at the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland said: “It is fantastic to see the Eatwell Guide being promoted and included in the SPAR store at RADAR to educate children and young people on nutrition and health. The Eatwell Guide shows how different foods contribute to a healthy, balanced diet and it’s crucial that the advice from the Guide is used in any healthy eating programme for children. This learning can help young people make better choices and can influence what goes into the shopping basket.”
Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR brand in Northern Ireland commented; “The understanding of what makes a healthier option and what isn’t, doesn’t have to be confusing. It is important that children and young people are taught the simple changes that can be made when they’re still learning about eating and food as a whole.
“This was our main priority when deciding to be part of the RADAR facility. We have stores in the heart of every community in Northern Ireland, and we’re providing fresh, local and convenient options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We want our shoppers to have this choice, to make a decision that is right for them, and to make healthy eating a way of life.”
Michaela Fox, RADAR NI Manager added; “As with real communities in Northern Ireland, SPAR is very much at the heart of our educational community. As well as healthy eating workshops, we’re able to provide children and young people with personal safety, anti-bullying and anti-social behaviour workshops within the SPAR store. It’s an invaluable partnership that benefits the entire facility and its users.”
For more information on RADAR visit www.radarni.co.uk