Schools have a unique opportunity to positively influence students through educating, role modeling, and creating healthy and supportive learning environments. Creating a healthy school nutrition environment is best achieved by:
- Demonstrating consistent messaging between what is taught in the healthy eating curriculum and types of foods available in the school.
- Supporting initiatives and programs that follow evidence-based teaching practices, and take a whole-school approach.
- Ensuring program longevity and sustainability.
- Obtaining regular input by staff and students in planning and implementing activities.
- Providing on-going capacity building opportunities for staff.
- Including train-the-trainer sessions facilitated by registered dietitians, regarding nutrition education and best practices for the delivery of education on vegetables and fruit.
- Utilizing cross-curricular approaches when teaching about healthy eating.
- Supporting the healthy eating portion of the school curriculum by encouraging your students to actively participate in all related aspects of food provision in the school. This could include:
- Ensuring healthy school food is available at breakfast, snack or lunch time.
- Providing a pleasant and relaxing environment for food consumption; taking into consideration feedback from students.
- Including the students in developing school policies around serving healthy snacks, meals, and water.
- Ensuring fresh, safe water is accessible to students at school.
- Providing opportunities for experiential or “hands-on” learning, such as food preparation, taste testing, and gardening for students to practice and develop food literacy.
- Involving parents and local community partners (food organizations, health units, etc.).
- Making links with associated issues, such as mental and physical wellbeing, the cultural role of food, environmental influence on food choice, and the role of the media in marketing food.
Resources to support implementation can be found in the sections below. Educators may also contact their School’s Public Health Nurse for additional support and consultation.
A fact sheet on healthy eating created by the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds team at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. This is an excellent resource to promote and educate about healthy eating.
- Making Connections:
- Food, food, food!
- Connecting with Books!
- Creating a Mind Map with Healthy Food
- Creative Discussions
- Making a Concept Map
- Making Healthy Choices:
- Healthy Lunches
- Making Healthy Food Choices
- Be True to You!
- Making Healthy Choices
- Healthy Decision Making:
- Where Does Food Come From?
- Local and Cultural Food
- Making Healthy Food Choices Anywhere:
- Identifying Nutrients
- Nutrients and Food
- Food Guide Servings
- Healthy Eating Goal Setting
- Places and Food
- Healthy Eating Anywhere
- Making Healthy Choices:
- Factors Influencing Healthy Eating
- Am I Hungry?
- Making Connections to Everyday Situations
- Connections for Healthy Living:
- Fitness Breaks and Healthy Eating Tips
- Personal and External Factors and Influences:
- Making Healthier Food Choices
- Health Disorders
- Who’s Influencing You?
- Mind Your Food Choices:
- What Nutrients?
- What Are My Options?
- What’s On Your Plate?
- Let’s Make It Happen
- Self-Care Contracts
Resources to assist elementary teachers in teaching healthy eating by providing an overview of PPM 150, making connections between PPM 150 and the curriculum, identifying roles of teachers in creating a healthy nutrition environment, promoting health literacy in students and more.
BrightBites© (K–Grade 12)
BrightBites© is a non-profit project that breaks school nutrition down into fun, easy badges. Entire schools (elementary and secondary) or individual classes/groups can sign up as teams. By earning badges, teams rise up in the BrightBites© Hall of Fame and receive recognition on social media. Teachers and other school leaders can use free BrightBites© resources to guide their teams every step of the way. BrightBites© is a fun, modern way to boost student well-being – one bite at a time.
BrightBites© was formerly named “Nutrition Tools For Schools”, and is written and maintained by Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health (OSNPPH) members.
Eat Well Plate (K–Grade 12)
The Eat Well Plate supplements Canada’s Food Guide and demonstrates food group proportions, encouraging the idea of making half of our plate vegetables and fruit.
Foodland Ontario (K–Grade 12)
Food facts, local food, seasonal food, Kid’s Corner with quizzes and activities centered around Ontario food products.
FoodcoreLGL (K–Grade 12)
foodcoreLGL includes a food inventory and food charter that your school can endorse. Also coming soon, toolkits to with ideas on how to implement the food charter.
Teach Nutrition (K–Grade 12)
This site contains a variety of curriculum-based units and activities, reviews frequently asked questions about nutrition, body image, physical activity and offers free nutrition workshops for teachers. Materials are available in English and French.
Enjoy Healthy Food and Drinks Most of the Time (Grades 9–12)
This handout from the Dietitians of Canada focuses on making healthy choices and on the importance of understanding that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. This might be useful to supplement lesson plans.
Have Fun: Be Active and Keep Moving (Grades 9–12)
This handout from the Dietitians of Canada focuses on teens being active, eating meals together as a family, and on being aware of how the media can affect body image.
Focus on the Positive in Yourself and Others (Grades 9–12)
This handout from the Dietitians of Canada focuses on hunger cues and promoting a positive body image in teens. This might be useful to supplement lesson plans.
5 Steps to Healthy Eating for Youth 12–18 (Grades 9–12)
This handout from the Dietitians of Canada may be useful to supplement lesson plans.
Supermarket Savvy Video (Grades 5–12)
Experience grocery shopping in a whole new way through this amusing and educational video. Tour a grocery store with a registered dietitian to learn about making the healthy choice the easy choice; Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, decoding nutrition labels, tips on low-cost food options; food from around the world. Running time 15 minutes.
FoodShare: Teaching Teachers About Good Food (K–Grade 12)
Lesson plans designed to be a learning “unit”. educators are encouraged to find the activities within them that best suit their group. Educators are encouraged to find the activities within these plans that best suit the needs of their class.
Family Kitchen (All Teachers)
A campaign developed and maintained by Registered Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada. The purpose is to encourage and support the transferring of essential food skills. Age appropriate activities and recipes are included.
This tool is a practical guide to engaging students in authentic leadership opportunities. It offers a simple to follow 6 step process and provides template activities, resources and evaluation tools.
*Please note that this resource was designed by Peel Public Health and some of the referenced resources may not be applicable to our area.
This comprehensive program encourages a healthy nutrition environment within a school, covering topics such as promoting water as the drink of choice, learning about what influences our food choices, ideas for healthy fundraisers, school celebrations and special events, gardening at school, tips for serving healthy breakfast, snacks, and lunches, and much more. BrightBites© can be used in the classroom, as an entire school, and with school teams, clubs and groups.
Here you can read about some success stories, from schools across Ontario that have created a healthier nutrition environment.
Here you will find a variety of articles related to nutrition and food in schools, such as healthy ideas for fundraising at school.
Student Nutrition Programs (SNPs)
These programs are funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and through fundraising at the school level. These are universal programs that are meant to benefit all students.
- Follow the School Nutrition Program (SNP) Guidelines (2016) when choosing foods offered in your SNP.
- Leeds & Grenville schools receive support from Nutrition 4 Kids for their SNPs.
- Lanark schools receive support from Food 4 Thought for their SNPs.
- If you are looking for training materials for volunteers of your SNP, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has the following PowerPoint presentations available for your use:
Here you will find resources and a framework for food literacy.
If you are concerned about families and students not having income to eat well, visit our Health Equity page to learn more.
The purpose of this memorandum is to set out nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in publicly funded elementary and secondary schools in Ontario.
Food Safety at School
- Food Safety Within School Kitchens: This fact sheet can help you determine what type of food preparation and service you can do from your school kitchen.
- Food Safety Considerations for School Gardens: There are many benefits that everyone can experience from participating in a gardening project at school. This fact sheet outlines some food safety considerations to address to ensure the food your garden produces is safe.
- Making Your School Barbecue Safe: This fact sheet outlines food safety tips to help ensure the food you serve to students, staff and visitors is safe.
- 4 Steps to Food Safety: This poster outlines the four basic steps to being food safe.
- Produce Safety Poster: This poster outlines tips to prevent food borne illness from produce.
Connecting School to Home
A positive parenting program that gives parents simple tips to help manage the big and small problems of family life. Triple P Parenting can help with parenting questions from 0–16 years of age around topics such as sleep, self-esteem, not listening, aggression, family conflict – and many more! For support in Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, call 1-800-660-5853 and ask about Triple P or visit www.triplep-parenting.ca.
This resource provides evidence based information to help parents have a positive impact on their child’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in this resource address how to use language, behaviour and role modeling to create a home environment that supports positive Healthy Behaviour. Consider contacting your School’s Public Health Nurse to set up a parent training.
Nutri-eSTEP® is a nutrition screening tool for toddlers (18–35 months) and preschoolers (3–5 years). It’s a no-cost questionnaire that looks at children’s eating, physical activity and screen time habits to identify what is going well and what areas could be improved. NutriSTEP® offers resources and tools for the whole family on a variety of topics, including meal planning, cooking, healthy growth, feeding and mealtime challenges, grocery shopping, among others. For more information please check out Nutri-eSTEP® Flyer.
Provides tips for packing a healthy school lunch.
What’s for Lunch? (Secondary Version)
Provides tips for packing a healthy school lunch.
A fact sheet on healthy eating created by the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds team at the Health Unit. This is an excellent resource to promote and educate about healthy eating.
This fact sheet outlines the four basic food safety principles that can help you prepare safe meals for your family.