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Where You Learn, Work and Play

Healthy eating and having healthy foods and drinks available where we learn, work and play is important. Review the following tabs to learn more about healthy eating in schools, workplaces, child care settings and recreation centres.

If you are an educator, please visit our For Professionals section for information on promoting healthy eating.

As a parent or caregiver, you can get involved at your child’s school to help create a positive food environment.

Here are some examples of how you can work towards creating a positive school food environment:

  • Volunteer for your school breakfast program and encourage healthy options that are in line with the School Nutrition Program guidelines.
  • For classroom celebrations, provide a variety of snacks found on Canada’s Food Guide such as veggie sticks and hummus, fruit and yogurt dip, or whole-grain crackers and cheese.
  • Encourage your school to use non-food rewards or prizes such as pencils, stickers, etc.
  • When organizing fundraisers, encourage non-food fundraisers like cards, candles, plants, calendars, vegetables and fruit. Fresh from the Farm is a great program to fundraise using vegetables.
  • Help organize catered school lunches at school that are in line with PPM 150.
  • Talk to teachers and school administrators about BrightBites©, a free program that provides resources to create a positive school food environment in a fun, interactive, and easy way. As a parent, you can help to implement and support BrightBites©.
  • If you are concerned about people not having income to eat well, please visit our Health Equity page to learn about food insecurity.

School Lunches and Snacks

Children spend about 40% of their waking hours at school, so the meals and snacks they eat there provide a major source of the energy and nutrients they need. Well-nourished children are more likely to get the energy and essential nutrients they need to grow, learn, play and develop.

For tips on packing balanced school lunches, check out ABCs of Packing a School Lunch with a Punch.

For tips on packing a safe school lunch, see Pack a Safe Lunch for Your Kids.

For tips on preparing a nutritious breakfast, visit Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day.

Student Nutrition Programs

Did you know that most schools have a meal or snack program that is available for all students? These are called student nutrition programs (SNP). They are funded by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services and through fundraising at the school level.

In Leeds and Grenville, these programs are supported by Healthy Eating for Better Learning (HEBL), and in Lanark they are supported by Food For Thought. Follow the links to their websites for more information.

The Creating a Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment toolkit helps both employers and employees create a healthy eating environment in the workplace. It offers resources and tools for the workplace to help:

  • Get buy-in to promote healthy eating.
  • Organize a committee to address wellness.
  • Identify opportunities and priorities to make healthy eating the easy and preferred choice.
  • Plan and implement actions to support healthy eating.

Shift Work

Shift work, or work that is outside of normal daylight hours, may affect eating habits. Visit’s Nutrition Tips for Shift Workers for strategies on how to eat well on a shift work schedule.

In 2015, the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) replaced the Day Nurseries Act. If you work in a child care setting, visit our child care page for tools and recipes to help you implement the nutrition sections of the Child Care and Early Years Act, and more!

Recreation facilities are community hubs for people of all ages. They are key settings that can have a positive impact on the health of all residents. As such, they are an ideal location to create a healthy food environment as they already support physical activity and active lifestyles. If you are a patron or employee of a recreation centre and you are looking to offer healthier food and drink options, please visit the Municipalities webpage.

If you are a parent who has kids in sports or a coach with sport’s team, our Healthy Eating – from Toddler to Youth section has resources on healthy sideline snacks.