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Schools & Child Care

Promoting Food and Nutrition in Schools

Promoting Food and Nutrition in Schools

The food environment can impact students’ ability to achieve health and well-being. It’s important to create a healthy school food culture. Nourished students are better prepared to learn. The way food and nutrition is promoted and accessible in the school should be consistent with the food skills and nutrition education being taught in the classroom. This will support the development of eating competencies and positive food and eating attitudes, skills and behaviour for life.

The benefits of creating a healthy school food culture are endless.


We can help you to incorporate the sample activities below related to food and nutrition into your school action plan and/or engage students, staff, families and community partners to come up with ideas of your own:

Click the links below for suggested lesson plans, curriculum supports, health unit programs and additional resources:

To help create a classroom environment that reinforces food and nutrition curriculum: 

There are many ways to engage students in school food initiatives, such as:

  • Create and maintaining a school/community garden or greenhouse.
  • Support school-wide meal programs or Student Nutrition Programs.
  • Support school-wide campaigns - World School Milk Day, The Great Big Crunch, etc.
  • Organize a theme week during nutrition month (March).
  • Create menus including fresh produce for cafeteria or salad/smoothie bar.
  • Create and support youth-led social justice initiatives about food industry marketing or household food insecurity.
  • Promote water in the school through installation of hydration stations. 
  • Involve students in planning and implementing changes to the student nutrition program to ensure foods offered meet the nutrition guidelines as well as student preferences, cultural diversity and food safety requirements.
  • Encourage student-led initiatives to promote and improve cafeteria food and the social environment.

  • Create safe, clean and pleasant eating areas that reduce the risk of food allergy.
  • Create and maintain a school/community garden or greenhouse. Review the Garden, Grow and Learn resource (found in the additional resources below.)
  • Offer and promote a School Milk Program that is accessible and affordable to all students.
  • Use  non-food rewards for student recognition.
  • Offer nutritious snacks during provincial testing and exams.
  • Install hydration stations and allow students to have water bottles on their desks throughout the day.
  • Offer a salad bar or smoothie bar for staff and students.
  • Offer vegetables and fruit with catered lunch days.
  • Include non-food activities on school fundraising plans. Examples: dance-a-thon, poinsettia or magazine sales, or fundraise with fruit and vegetables like oranges or grapefruit or Fresh from the Farm fundraising.

Engage parents, caregivers, and families:

  • Encourage families to pack litterless lunches to support eco-schools initiatives and nutritious food choices. 
  • Provide parent, student and community education about healthy eating practices and food safety e.g.  School Lunch Your Kids Will Munch.
  • Share resources with your students and their families to encourage nourishing meal and snack choices at school and at home. 
  • For celebrations, consider whether food is needed. Make participation optional, and encourage those who choose to participate to send fruit trays and themed veggie trays instead of candy and cupcakes for celebrations. 
  • Encourage parents and volunteers to take the You’re the Chef leader’s training to offer food skills program to students. 


 Partner with your school community:

  • Engage community partners to develop, plan, and implement Healthy Schools initiatives.
  • Encourage volunteers to take a certified food handler training certification to support the Student Nutrition Program in the school.
  • Arrange for educational visits to local farms, greenhouses, farmers' markets or grocery stores.
  • Arrange for your school to be a Good Food Box drop/pick up site.
  • Involve families and local community in school/community gardens/greenhouses.
  • Partner with local community kitchens or post-secondary school hospitality programs for food skills opportunities.
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