PEI has a school nutrition policySchool Nutrition Policies are now the norm in Canada. All schools in PEI now have a school nutrition policy to help them provide Island children and youth with healthy food and beverage options when at school. The policy also can help children and their families understand which foods should be “chosen more often” versus “less often”.
School Nutrition Policies also provides guidance for schools regarding:
o Healthy choices for school meal programs (breakfast, snack or lunch)
o Healthy fundraising activities
o The amount of time children need to eat their lunch
o Healthy choices for vending machines and canteens
What can children do to eat healthy at school?
Students can learn about the foods sold in their school and healthy eating opportunities at the school.
• Children can also learn about healthy eating and make healthier choices at school and at home.
• They can act as role models for each other.
• They can also share the knowledge they gain with family and friends and their communities
What can Parents/Guardians do?
Parents play an important role in helping children develop healthy eating habits.
• Parents can provide healthy choices for their families at home and pack healthy choices in their child’s lunch bag.
• Parents and guardians have an important part to play by acting as positive role models by healthy eating at home so that their children can see that it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Role of School
Teachers, principals, and food service providers or volunteers all play a role in promoting healthy eating at school.
• Teachers can teach healthy eating in their classes on a regular basis and discuss the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
• They can encourage children to participate in healthy eating activities and challenges.
• Teachers can also be healthy role models by packing healthy choices for their lunches and snacks, and drinking healthy choices throughout the day.
Principals can communicate the importance of healthy eating habits to the teachers, staff and parents. This sends a clear message that healthy eating is important for children to learn. The principal can also make sure that the food provided for the school breakfast, lunch or snack programs complies with choices allowed by the school nutrition policy. Making everyone aware of the importance of following the policy is an important job for the principal and school administrators.
Food service providers and volunteers can learn about the choices allowed by the policy and make these choices available to the school. Educational opportunities such as theme days and healthy eating activities may also be a good way for the food service providers to engage the school community in learning about healthy eating.
Support from the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance
Prince Edward Island Healthy Eating Alliance (HEA) supports schools in following their nutrition policies by offering guidance to school administrators and decision makers. They can identify the choices offered which comply with the school nutrition policy, and suggest ways to make all of their choices fit.
HEA supports parents and guardians with information to help them provide healthy food choices for their families. HEA Registered Dietitians discuss healthy eating topics and offer ideas for healthy meals and snacks, through demonstrations, class presentations, and community and parent engagement sessions.
Source: Teri McComber and PEI Healthy Eating Alliance