Food for Fitness Fit for fun
Started 6 years ago in the Meath Chronicle, this initiative came about after a report was issued on childhood obesity. Partnering with a local company, Generali, who employ over 150 people in their headquarters in Navan, the idea was to show fun ways of keeping active and also to introduce schoolchildren to fresh food, produced locally and in a fun way. We partnered with Padraic White, a Michelin star chef, who visits the schools to talk about his passion – locally sourced top class produce. Alan Heary, organiser of Race Around Ireland designed programmes for the children and also visits schools to talk about the fun part of being fit and active.
All this came about through a meeting with Pauric White and Mary McGuigan after the Meath Business and Tourism Awards. We then approached Generali, who were delighted to get involved and now in its sixth year, they are happy to continue the partnership.
Fit for Fun and Food for Fitness is launched at the end of February and runs through to the end of May. Pauric and Alan write articles on their visits to the schools and also write about some of the inspirational teachers and students they meet on their visits.
Two pages every week brings photographs, recipes, fitness goals and the story of what the schools are achieving in this area to the audience of the Meath Chronicle. This is supported online on www.meathchronicle.ie.
Competitions are run asking children to design healthy meals for their family on a budget and ipads, bicycles and trips to Tayto Park are the incentives.
Every year to keep interest level high, we add something new – last year was a Food Safari for a class. They visited Martry Mill, Kerrigan’s Mushrooms, Sheridan’s Cheese and Meade Potato and got a chance to see how their food was produced – that it didn’t just come from a supermarket shelf.
In November, we hold the Spirit of the Final awards with Cumann na mBunscoil as part of this initiative. Our Sports Editor attends all the finals, in football and hurling, and chooses his winner not on the number of goals scored but on the spirit shown by an individual player or team member.
This year, before the launch, Pauric and Alan’s visit list was already full but they managed to double up some weeks so as not to disappoint anyone. This is a measure of the success of the initiative and we already have some new ideas for 2017.