Tips for Student Nutrition Programs

These 4 tips will help you have the best and brightest student nutrition program possible!

Tip 1: Menus must meet the MCYS Nutrition Guidelines

All food served to students as part of a Student Nutrition Program, must meet the nutrition standards in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines (2016).

If you need help in designing a menu that meets the guidelines, contact  your local community SNP coordinator or public health unit Registered Dietitian (RD).

Tip 2: Get All Involved

  • Student volunteers can help cut up and portion foods, deliver food to classrooms and clean up. They can also give feedback on the menu and help with fundraisers.
  • Parents can support the SNP by donating or by being involved as a volunteer. Attend events where parents are (e.g. Meet the Teacher) and spend time talking to parents about why you do what you do.
  • Teachers/staff can be positive role models by enjoying the snack/meal with students, encouraging pleasant conversation, and helping out
  • Let the community know about the fantastic work you are doing by spreading the word

 Tip 3: Bring joy to eating

Talk to mealtime monitors and tell them not to pressure students to eat more or less food, in order to avoid waste. This can backfire as kids learn to ignore their bodies’ natural hunger and fullness cues. Instead, serve small portions and allow students to come back for more.  Avoid talk of weight, appearance and calories. To make the eating environment more enjoyable, allow students to sit down and take time to eat and talk with their peers.

Tip 4: Rethink your fundraising

Are you selling less nutritious foods (e.g. chocolates, cookie dough, pizza kits) to raise money to buy fruits and veggies?  Make sure your fundraisers support the messages about eating well, promoted by the SNP. Try fundraising with fruits, veggies or non-food fundraisers instead – they can be just as profitable!