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Eating at school

Healthy eating is important for all children. Good nutrition and physical activity help kids grow, learn, and build strong bones and muscles.

Healthy food choices and regular physical activity may also help children maintain a healthy weight and prevent health problems, including type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults, but it is becoming more common in children.

Children learn by watching and doing. As parents and caregivers, you can help your children learn about healthy choices by modeling healthy living habits. Your positive behaviours now will set your child up for a lifetime of healthy habits. 

Set a healthy example
Food choices Behaviours
Encourage children to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full Start the day with a healthy breakfast
Encourage healthy, balanced eating for children; avoid diets Get your kids cooking—they usually like to eat what they make
Eat a variety of healthy foods every day, including plenty of vegetables and fruits Focus on small, gradual changes in eating to create healthy habits that will last a lifetime. For example, try a new vegetable once a week.
Drink water instead of sugary drinks (pop, juice, iced tea, slushies) Talk to a registered dietitian if you are concerned about your child’s eating habits or weight
Offer healthy snack choices, such as fresh fruits, cut-up veggies or yogurt Eat meals together as a family
Limit (but don’t forbid) high-calorie snacks, such as candy, chocolate and chips

Turn off screens (TV, phones, tablets) during meals and avoid snacking in front of the screen

Offer whole fruit—it has more fibre Avoid using food as a reward or punishment
Avoid meal deals and super-sizing when eating out Ensure that mealtimes are a positive experience where your children can enjoy their food

Children with type 1 diabetes and eating at school

Children with type 1 diabetes must balance food, medication (including insulin) and activity every day in order to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. At school, this requires a bit of extra planning.


  • Make sure your child has an Individual Care Plan that includes detailed instructions about lunch and snacks
  • Inform the school of any special food restrictions (for example, if your child has celiac disease or food allergies)
  • Provide foods that your child enjoys eating

School personnel

  • Make sure the student eats all meals and snacks completely and on time. Younger children may require supervision
  • Provide enough time for the student to finish snacks/meals
  • Inform parents if the student does not finish the food or if there were changes to planned food intake due to school-related activities
  • Inform parents in advance of any change in the usual school routine, such as changes to physical activity schedule, field trips, special events or lunch schedule

Looking for healthy recipes?

We offer recipes for a variety of meals and occasions.

Additional resources

For more information about the kids in school policy, what your rights are, and ways to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

Additional resources

For more information about the kids in school policy, what your rights are, and ways to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

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