This Version Posted: September 9, 2021

Healthy eating is essential for our physical and mental development.  

In addition to enjoying a well-balanced diet, it’s important to create a healthy food environment and develop our food skills and eating habits.  

When it comes to back to school, a student’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all have a direct impact on their ability to learn and stay focused.  

Canada’s Food Guide makes it simple to put together a nutritious meal or snack.  

The key to a well-balanced meal is the proportion of each food group. Aim for 50 per cent of foods eaten in a single day/meal to be fruit and vegetables, 25 per cent should be whole grain foods and the last 25 per cent should be protein (more often plant-based).  

In addition to food proportions, the number of meals and snacks one consumes in a day is important. Students needs three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), plus one to three snacks.  

Healthy foods: 

  • Whole, fresh and unprocessed  
  • Sourced locally (when possible), to avoid pesticides 
  • Natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, dates) 

Foods to limit: 

  • Sugar and sugar substitutes (these contribute to tooth decay and have no nutritional value) 
  • Low-sodium foods (eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and risk of heart disease) 
  • Processed foods  

Offer your child water when they are thirsty. Avoid fruit juices and instead replace with actual fruit.  

In-school meals: 

  • Nut free: Remember that in-person learning requires a nut-free environment. If you or your child can eat nuts, make sure it’s done at home and not part of school lunches.
  • Garbage free: On top of encouraging healthy eating habits through meals, you can develop sustainable practices, such as packing lunches in re-usable containers and limiting the amount of plastic used.  

For additional resources on nutrition and healthy eating development, visit: