Roles and Responsibilities Related to Food & Eating- Elementary

Apply the following roles and responsibilities during eating occasions at school. This respects a student’s autonomy and role in that process. It allows them to listen to their body and  helps them trust their natural ability to regulate their hunger and fullness. Finally, it supports their developing and changing palate for different flavours.

  • Parent/caregiver’s role is to determine WHAT food to provide
  • School/Educator’s role is to determine WHEN & WHERE student eat
    • Provide regular meal and snack breaks and structure around mealtimes. 
    • Offer enough eating time and appropriate space for eating.
    • Use meals as times to connect with others and have pleasant and casual conversations.
    • Be neutral and do not comment on students’ lunches (what is packed, how much or the order they eat their food). 
    • Save nutrition education for outside of mealtimes.
    • Offer repeated exposures and opportunities to learn about food without pressure or judgment.
  • Student’s role is to decide WHETHER they eat and HOW MUCH
    • Respect students’ decisions, including eating food in the order they choose.
    • Trust students when they say or show that they are full or they are hungry for more.
    • Don’t make students finish one food before they eat another. 
    • Don’t try to get them to eat more, or less, or even taste.

As educators it is important to recognize that: 

  • grocery shopping, food selection and meal planning are adult roles
  • students are often not responsible for their planning or packing lunches
  • the foods students bring from home reflect their families’ needs and resources
  • each student’s food experiences, abilities and preferences are different
  • families are doing their best

Concerned about a student not having enough food? Speak to your administrators about what is available at your school.