SCHOOL meals in Bolton have scooped another award for encouraging youngsters to eat healthily.

Children in Bolton were the first in the country to take part in a new dining scheme, Food Dudes, which encourages pupils to choose nutritious meals through the use of colour, stickers and characters.

The success has earned Bolton Council and Food Dudes the 2014 Cost Sector Catering Health and Nutrition Award.

The scheme was launched at Kearsley West Primary School in November, and has since been rolled out to St Gregory’s RC Primary, Farnworth, Bolton Parish CE School, Sunning Hill Primary and Our Lady of Lourdes Primary in Bolton.

Bolton Council’s cabinet member for community services, Cllr John Byrne, said: “We’re very pleased to have been recognised by the industry for the work we’re doing with Food Dudes.

"We are renowned for leading the way with school meals and Food Dudes has been exceptionally popular in the schools we are trialling it in.

“We’d like to thank staff and pupils for their support and we are seeing some great results.

“More importantly parents are saying that the programme is changing the way children eat at home.”

The “dining experience” helps children try foods they might otherwise not have as they collect points.

Headteacher of Kearsley West Primary School, Lesley Cooper said: “At Kearsley West, we have seen the positive effects of the Food Dudes programme and the impact that it has had on our children and their families.

"It is a fantastic programme which promotes healthy eating and encourages children to try a variety of fruit and vegetables which they might not have had the opportunity to try before.”

Professor Fergus Lowe, chairman of Food Dudes, said: “With the prevention of childhood obesity high on the public agenda, we have seen a huge demand for help in educating children about healthy eating.”