Eating Right at School

apple sitting on a lunch box

Can your child’s school have an impact on their eating habits? You bet! Your child spends a good part of his or her day at school. They should be able to put into practice what they are learning and experiencing at school about healthy eating.

Parents have a role to play too. They can support positive change already underway and encourage healthy changes by starting or joining a nutrition committee or suggesting non-food items for fundraisers. Together, parents and schools can create a healthy school environment where making a healthy choice is the easy choice.

What schools can do to encourage a healthy environment

Healthy children learn better. When children eat right, they can improve their memory and their ability to concentrate. In addition, eating well supports healthy growth and development. That’s why it’s so important that children are given the chance to make healthy food choices at school. Which of these healthy practices does your child’s school encourage?

  • Offer non-food items such as pencils, stickers or extra play-time instead of food with little nutritional value as rewards or prizes.
  • Ensure teachers are trained to teach nutrition.
  • Remind teachers they are important role models for good eating habits.
  • Offer healthy food choices for class parties, special events, special lunch days, vending machines and cafeterias.
  • Provide at least 20 minutes to eat and socialize at lunch.
  • Serve culturally appropriate, healthy food choices for nutrition programs.
  • Use non-food items for fundraisers instead of relying on bake sales or selling food with little nutritional value.
  • Schedule recess and student nutrition programs at times that will not interfere with a child’s appetite for lunch.

Your local public health unit can help.

Ask about:

  • Resources to teach nutrition in the classroom.
  • School presentations.
  • Referrals for student nutrition programs.
  • Parent resources on packing lunches or breakfast eating that can be sent home from school.

10 ways parents can make a difference to make healthier eating easier at school

Help to make healthy eating easier at your child’s school:

  1. Talk with your child about what they are learning at school about nutrition.
  2. Send healthy food choices to school for lunches, snacks and parties.
  3. Promote non-food fundraisers such as a dance-a-thon or silent auction.
  4. Bring your ideas and concerns forward to the parent council or principal.
  5. Find out if there is a school nutrition committee and join it. If not, start one.
  6. Find out if there is a food policy or help to create one.
  7. Support healthy school activities. Help with a nutrition program.
  8. Participate in healthy activities at home. Eat right and be active together.

Find out more:

Packing Healthy School Lunches and Snacks FAQs, by Unlock Food

Last Update – September 26, 2019

Phone Icon

Dietitians look beyond fads to deliver reliable, life-changing advice. Want to unlock the potential of food? Connect with a dietitian.