Smart eating with SPAR Northern Ireland

Smart eating with SPAR Northern Ireland

17 May 2017

Find out what partners SPAR and RADAR are doing to promote smart eating for young people!

Smart eating with SPAR Northern Ireland


If you’ve visited the streets of RADAR, you’ll know that you can find what is often found on most streets in Northern Ireland - a SPAR store.

As one of the sponsors of the facility, SPAR houses the section of the tour where guests learn all about healthy eating, what is considered a healthy portion, and what is considered junk food.

Here, Bronagh Luke from SPAR Northern Ireland, talks about what else can be expected from a trip to your local SPAR during a day at RADAR.

At SPAR, we’re all about convenient and healthy eating. We’re often a stop for the lorry driver as they get a quick caffeine fix, the parent on the school run on the way home wondering what to make for tonight’s tea, and the kids who come in after school with rumbling tummies after a hard day’s learning!

We know it’s essential to cater for everybody, so we ensure we have everything from a healthy breakfast bar to a simple-to-cook meal for dinner. So, what’s to stop us grabbing for the bad stuff when we’re hungry? Especially after school? At RADAR, we have worked with the team and their specially trained staff, and using the Eatwell Guide tohelp children learn more about their eating habits, steering them towards the right foods to enjoy throughout different times of the day.

In our shop, all the usual items can be found, from fruit and vegetables, to crisps and chocolate, bread, rice and everything in between. The children will be shown the Eatwell Guide, which sections food groups into different colours – yellow for carbohydrates, green for fruit and veg, blue for dairy, red for meats, fish and protein, and purple for unsaturated fats.

Being healthy includes being active, so the children will then participate in an active team game with the Eatwell Guide, where they run up and choose cards to fill in their food charts. Not all charts will be filled, as only the best food decisions made will fill up the chart, which means a good discussion on making up a plate after the game.

Then, the children get to go shopping. This not only gives them a little chance to feel some shopping independence, but it really helps cognitive decision making when it comes to food, setting them in good stead for the future. Discussions take place to compare different foods, substituting something not so healthy, for something that could give them more balance and nutrition. They will also be able to discuss how foods will make your feel, both physically and mentally.

This form of everyday learning can be compelling for a child. It is getting them out of their usual surroundings, and letting them take control, make their own decisions and understand the effects of those decisions. Many children will reach for biscuits and crisps when it comes to a snack, but we hope that by the end of their SPAR session, they’ll understand that an apple is just as sweet and will have lasting benefits!

Here at SPAR, we’re delighted to have partnered with RADAR. This is a much-needed facility which will teach everything from road safety skills to health management which is why we wanted to get involved. Childhood obesity is a rising threat in Northern Ireland, with more than half of people here skipping breakfast than those in the rest of the UK. It is alarmingly easy for a young person to become addicted to junk food.

We can’t wait to unveil all our plans for the SPAR store throughout the year, so keep checking back on the blog for our guest spots to talk about the rest of our activities.

To find out more about SPAR in Northern Ireland, visit

Posted by: Lidon