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Healthy Food in Schools


children with healthy cafeteria foodWhy is School Nutrition Policy Important?

  • Education and health are intimately linked
  • Students spend as much time at school as in any other environment
  • Next to parents, schools have the most impact on shaping children’s eating habits
  • Students typically have at least one snack or meal at school per day

School Nutrition Policy… creates supportive school environments for healthy food choices designed to:

  • improve the nutritional intake of students
  • provide students an opportunity to practice what they learn in the classroom
  • demonstrate that schools value student health
  • contribute to the primary prevention of chronic disease

A Nutrition Policy is …

  • a statement of philosophy and belief
  • established to make healthy choices the easy choices
  • a way to ensure that good nutrition is promoted both in theory and in practice
  • direction for action

smiling childrenPolicies Can Cover:

  • Foods available at special events
  • Commercial vending/catering contracts
  • Cafeterias and canteens
  • Nutrition education for students/staff
  • Using food as reward
  • Fundraising
  • Food packaging and waste
  • Food Security
  • Eating environments
  • Role modeling
  • Support of local food producers
  • And many more, depending on the issues identified by your school/division

Making Your Policy Work

Involve as many representatives of the school community as possible in policy development:

    • Superintendents
    • School Trustees
    • Administrators
    • Teachers
    • Parents
    • Students
    • Dietitian

  • The policy should cover all foods and beverages served or sold within the school and at/for school sponsored activities
  • The policy should be widely publicized and apply to students, student organizations, staff and meal/snack providers
  1. Change takes time
  2. Allow for phased in implementation
  3. Make action plans realistic – start where you are likely to succeed
  4. Monitor and evaluate changes
  5. Celebrate success
For suggestions on how to go about developing school nutrition polices, and sample policy statements from schools across Canada, look in the Manitoba School Nutrition Handbook.
smiling teenager

Healthy Schools is a partnership of:
Health, Seniors and Active Living
Education and Training | Healthy Child Manitoba