How it works

There are three phases to the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme, designed to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables. The programme is based on the three Rs: repeated tastings, rewards and role models


School element  -  16-day intervention

  • Daily fruit and vegetable deliveries
  • Rewards
  • Letters from the Food Dude role models
  • DVD episodes featuring the Food Dude role models
  • Lunchbox at the end of the Phase

Home element  -  Post intervention

  • Parents encourage children to bring fruit and vegetables to school in Food Dudes lunchbox
  • Teachers record daily progress on classroom wallcharts
  • Children receive certificates on reaching/completing phased milestones/goals

Maintenance phase – tasting days and specially designed educational materials

In the two years following Phase 1 and 2, tasting days accompanied by educational materials such as a passport to healthy eating and short informative video clips encourage a listening whilst eating approach to learning. This phase maintains long-term programme engagement post-intervention and continued increase in consumption throughout entire school year. This allows children to develop healthy eating habits for life!


The updated Food Dudes programme sees revised programme elements such as:

  • New-look characters
  • New DVD series*
  • Key messages from Irish celebrity role models
  • Visual fun & games for you to play along in our own classrooms
  • New eco-friendly rewards
  • Bilingual print materials
  • Bilingual website

The new programme will also see the introduction of a maintenance phase (3) in Year 2 and 3, where children will be offered:

  • Tasting days
  • Passport to healthy eating
  • Suggested activities to help develop/launch a Food Dudes ‘Healthy Eating Week’ in their school

With special schools making up less than 5% of Irish Primary schools, serving pupils with the greatest level and complexity of special educational needs, important considerations are now being given to these schools. Based on teacher feedback, customised rewards are now being offered to special schools for pupils with learning difficulties. Teachers are now being encouraged to adjust their teachings instead of following the prescribed programme of learning for their individual classes. Rather than traditional tasting/consumption, there is now more emphasis on sensory learning in the classroom and at home, with tasting (licking), touching, holding and smelling the produce all encouraged. Smoothies, juices, soups and pureed food tastings are now also encouraged as ‘appropriate’ tastings, with music, dance and song to accompany the DVD episodes and letters. Utilising new teaching techniques means that the Food Dudes programme can achieve similar, if not greater, results in special schools.

We welcome feedback from teachers/parents on further development of this specific programme of learning at any time.

* The new Food Dudes media is entirely funded by Bangor University and created in partnership with RJDM, a UK media company commissioned by Bangor University Lead Researchers Professor Fergus Lowe and Pauline Horne. The script was written in collaboration with Sean Carson and the Food Dudes song lyrics were written by Pauline and Steffan Horne.