Educators

Provide a healthy classroom environment

  • Look for opportunities to incorporate food education into classroom teaching (e.g., read a food-related book, utilize vegetables and fruit as units in math questions, incorporate food into art projects, visit a local farm or grocery store, explore different cultural food practices).
  • Promote healthier classroom celebrations.
  • Use non-food rewards in the classroom (e.g., stickers, pencils, high fives, classroom privileges).
  • Provide screen-free eating environments and allow students to socialize when eating.
  • Make time for regular meals and snacks.
  • At scheduled eating times, allow students to choose what they want to eat from their lunch, and how much.

Provide hands-on opportunities to build food literacy

Support students in developing healthy relationships with food

  • Focus on providing opportunities to explore a variety of foods.
  • Use neutral language when discussing and identifying food. Avoid labelling food as “good” or “bad,” and try to avoid “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Practice describing foods based on their colour, shape, smell, flavour, texture, etc. rather than perceived nutritional value.
  • Embrace that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Encourage students to enjoy foods, accept a wide variety of foods, eat based on hunger cues and know how to find and interpret accurate nutrition information when they want or need it.
  • Do not comment on the content of student lunches.
  • Do not tell students when to eat certain foods from their lunches.
  • Explore the Nurturing Healthy Eaters resource for elementary and secondary schools.

Use Canada’s food guide

  • Use Canada’s food guide and its healthy eating recommendations for evidence-based information.
  • Encourage drinking water more often, while limiting sugary drinks.
  • Other healthy beverages can include unsweetened milk and fortified soy beverage.
  • Be aware that food marketing can influence eating behaviours.
  • Be mindful that it is the overall pattern of eating that matters when it comes to health, not one individual food or single day.
  • Although Canada’s food guide recommendations are intended for Canadians 2 years and up, they were written for adults not children. Some of the messaging may not be supportive for students who are still learning how to eat a variety of foods and students who have limited access to food at home (e.g., due to food insecurity or other reasons).

Image of Canada's food guide