Grade 4

updated May 2024

HPE Curriculum Healthy Eating Strand

D1.1 identify the key nutrients (e.g., fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals) provided by foods and beverages, and describe their importance for growth, mental and physical health, learning, and physical performance 

D2.1 identify personal eating habits through self-monitoring over time, and set a goal for developing healthier eating habits, on the basis of the recommendations and guidelines in Canada’s Food Guides

D3.1 identify ways of promoting healthier eating habits in a variety of settings and situations 


Note: Self-monitoring food intake is harmful for students. Students may be encouraged to reflect on their intake (e.g. reflecting on what they eat at different times and places), but should not be encouraged to or tasked with any formal, regular monitoring of their intake. Doing so increases the risk of disordered eating.

Note: Sometimes we talk about setting goals related to eating. If discussing this with students, goals should be related to cooking more regularly, trying new foods, eating with others instead of alone.

Key Concepts for Student Learning

All foods contain nutrients

  • Food is made up of different nutrients and all nutrients are important. All foods provide nutrients, but no one food can provide us with all the nutrients our bodies need.
  • Eating a variety of foods helps us get all the nutrients we need.
  • Key nutrients and main functions are:
    • Carbohydrates give our body and brain energy
    • Protein helps our body to grow and repair muscles, skin, hair and nails
    • Fat gives us energy, protects our organs, and helps the body absorb some vitamins
    • Vitamins and minerals help our body do different tasks
      • Calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and zinc help build strong bones and teeth
      • Iron and B-vitamins help the body use the energy from food and keeps our blood healthy
      • Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin E help keep cells in the body healthy
    • Water helps move nutrients and oxygen in our body, remove waste, helps us control our body temperature and digest food. It also cushions all the tissues and organs in the body and helps muscles contract

Note: Focus on the positive roles of nutrients rather than the negative consequences that may be associated with certain nutrients as this can lead to students being afraid to eat certain foods.

Food and eating habits

  • Exploring new foods, enjoying your food, learning how to prepare and cook food, and eating with others is as important as what you eat. How can you do more of these things? 
  • We eat differently depending on where we are or depending on the occasion. This is okay!
  • It’s nice to be able to choose from a variety of foods wherever you are.

NOTE: Educators should be aware that food guide messages may not be appropriate for all students including those who are neurodivergent and/or have health, sensory or other exceptional needs that impact their relationship with food and eating. SMHO Resource on Mental Health Promotion at Schools: Classroom Considerations – Supporting Mental Wellness Amongst Students with Special Education Needs offers tips that can be applied to support learning about food and eating at school.