Tips for Student Nutrition Programs

These 4 tips will help you have the best and brightest Student Nutrition Program (SNP) possible!

Tip 1: Ensure menus meet the nutrition guidelines

All food served to students as part of a Student Nutrition Program, should meet the nutrition standards in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines (2020).

If you need help in designing a menu that meets the guidelines, contact your local SNP lead agency.

Tip 2: Involve the whole school community

  • Ask students for feedback and input on the menu.
  • Recruit parent and student volunteers to help run the program (e.g., grocery shop, prepare food, portion and serve food, clean up).
  • Request donations from families and community partners.
  • Ask students and families to help with fundraisers for the program.
  • Share success stories with the whole school community.
  • Encourage staff to make appearances in the breakfast program to enjoy a meal/snack with the students, engage in pleasant conversation and/or help out. 

 Tip 3: Provide a safe and pleasant eating environment

Provide an environment where students can practice mindful eating and pay attention to their hunger cues. Offer a variety of foods and allow students to choose what and how much they’d like.  Allow students to sit down and take their time to eat and talk with their peers. 

Here are some important reminders for all volunteers (students and adults):

  • Avoid commenting on anyone’s eating habits
  • Never pressure students to eat more or less food, even if you think it will help reduce waste
  • Avoid or stop any conversations related to weight, appearance, calories or dieting

Tip 4: Rethink your fundraising

Make sure your fundraisers support the healthy eating messages promoted within your Student Nutrition Program.  Instead of selling foods with little nutritional value (e.g., chocolate bars, cookie dough) try fundraising with veggies, fruits or non-food items instead – they can be just as profitable!