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Schools & Child Care

Healthy Eating in Schools

The most effective way for school communities to ensure the best possible outcomes in support of children and youth, is to use a comprehensive approach.Comprehensive School Health is an internationally recognized framework. The Ontario Ministry of Education supports this comprehensive approach with Foundations for a Healthy School which suggests that schools implement activities under the following five components in order to effectively address a health-related topic, (e.g. healthy eating).

Check out BrightBites to help you create a healthy school nutrition environment, making bite size changes in each of the components of the Foundations for a Healthy School.  

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Offering a wide range of opportunities for students to learn, practise and promote positive and healthy behaviours. Visit our Educators pages for more information, lesson plans, curriculum supports and resources to support classroom teaching related to Healthy Eating.
  • For Elementary Educators 
  • For Secondary Educators
  • To support staff that are teaching nutrition, consider workshops, conferences or inviting field experts to speak at a professional development day.

School and Classroom Leadership

School and classroom leadership focuses on creating a positive classroom and school environment by identifying shared goals and priorities that are responsive to the needs of the school community. Check out the following frequently asked questions. (PDF)

The following are examples of strategies that could assist your school in promoting school and classroom leadership:

  • Consider using non-food rewards for student recognition.
  • Encourage positive role modeling by adults.

Student Engagement

Student engagement refers to the extent to which students identify with and value their learning; feel a sense of belonging at school; and are informed about, engaged with and empowered to participate in and lead academic and non-academic activities.

The following is an example of a strategy that could assist your school in engaging students:

  • Encourage students to be responsible for the school garden.

Social and Physical Environment

Healthy, safe and caring social and physical environments support learning and contribute to the positive cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development of students.

The following are examples of strategies that could assist you in promoting supportive social and physical environments at your school:

  • Healthy Food For Healthy Schools (PDF) – The Ontario Ministry of Education introduced the Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act in 2008. The act addresses healthy eating in schools by removing trans-fat from food and beverages sold in schools and introducing mandatory nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in schools. The following Ministry of Education resources and tools are available to support publicly-funded schools in Ontario to meet the requirements of this legislation:
  • Establish guidelines for healthy classroom celebrations and school events.
  • Offer Student Nutrition Programs that provide safe and healthy breakfasts, snacks and lunches based on Canada’s Food Guide. Follow these guidelines to serve up safe and healthy foods to students.
    • Eat Well to Excel – Simcoe County
    • Student Nutrition Programs –  Muskoka 
      For more information, contact:
      Rachel Grenier, Student Nutrition Program Coordinator
      175 Chippewa St. W., North Bay, ON P1B 6G3
      Tel:  705-476-0974, ext.: 47
      Fax: 705-476-8022
  • Create a nut free environment and offer anaphylaxis training to staff to support Sabrina’s Law.
  • Creation and maintenance of a school garden. See the Garden, Grow, and Learn resource to learn how to keep safe and healthy when gardening at school.
  • Offer and promote a School Milk Program.

Home, School and Community Partnerships

Home, school and community partnerships engage parents, extended family, school staff, child care and family support programs and community groups in a mutually beneficial way to support, enhance and promote opportunities for learning and well-being. Community partners provide consultation, resources and services to support staff, students, and families. 

The following are examples of strategies that could assist you in promoting home, school and community partnerships at your school:

Additional Resources

  • EatRight Ontario – EatRight Ontario provides easy-to-use nutrition information to help make healthier food choices. Registered Dietitians provide visitors with feature articles on food and nutrition, meal planning advice, healthy eating tips and recipes. A wide range of interesting topics includes family nutrition, healthy eating, and school health.
  • Dietitians of Canada – Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the national professional association for dietitians.  Access trusted, useful tools and science-based information including how to assess lifestyle and eating habits, tips on meal planning, and delicious new recipes to try. It also houses educational handouts and helpful web resources.
  • Healthy Canadians – Eat Well Central – This is a one-stop Government of Canada link to a wide range of dependable, up-to-date information including healthy eating tips for families and children.
  • Factsheets on Trans Fat (PDF)
  • Recipe Analyzer (Dietitians of Canada)
  • Peanut Allergy (PDF)
  • How Are You Quenching Your Thirst? (PDF)

Have additional questions?

Contact Health Connection:  705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or email.

Are you concerned about a student and/or would like additional information related to counselling or community supports? Find out where to get help

If you would like assistance in developing a school action plan for healthy eating, contact your SMDHU Healthy Schools public health nurse through Health Connection by calling 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

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