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Nutrition at School

Make the Grade with Good Nutrition

Food and Nutrition Policy for Schools

The Province of Nova Scotia, in cooperation with schools and school boards, has a comprehensive policy to help schools, students and their parents make healthy food choices. To read the Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Schools, click here.

Tips for an A+ Lunch
 
It’'s time for back-to-school and for many, this means back-to-packing a lunch box!  It is also a good time to encourage good nutrition and healthy eating habits. 

For parents, it can be a struggle to balance the health needs of their children with cost and convenience. Kids, on the other hand, want a lunch that is appealing, tastes good, is quick and easy to eat, and has the stamp of approval from their friends.
 
With so much to consider each day, creating a healthy lunch box is sometimes easier said than done. One trick is to think like a kid. Here are some tips that will guarantee a kid approved and healthy lunch:
 
Give Choice:

  • Kids like to have choice in the foods they eat. Find out what your child likes and make a list of these foods and drinks.  Be sure that all four food groups from the Canada’'s Food Guide are represented.  Then let your child choose from your approved lunch list.  By involving your child in planning and preparing, your child will likely eat what'’s in his or her lunch box.  
  • Hint: A healthy lunch should include at least 3 of the 4 food groups.  Offer low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice, or water as a beverage choice.

Add Variety:

  • Kids may be easily bored with the same foods. Be sure there is plenty of variety in your child’'s lunch box each day. Try a new sandwich filling or type of bread or spread such as hummus. For young children, cut the sandwiches in different shapes to add interest. If you’'re stuck in a sandwich rut, offer some cold leftovers instead such as, pizza, pasta, and or casseroles. It is easy to make a healthy lunch fun and tasty.
  • Hint: Always include a different fruit and vegetable each day.

Make it Easy:

  • Kids like foods that are quick and easy to eat. Find creative ways to prepare and package foods so your child can easily enjoy eating his or her lunch. Peel an orange and portion it; pack small bite sized fruits like grapes, strawberries, or pineapple chunks; make a small cut into a banana for easier peeling. Kids also like foods that are interactive.  Include foods they can dip, dunk, or stack. Vegetables are great for dipping!
  • Hint: Avoid sticky messy foods or finicky, hard to open packaging.

Things to remember:

  • It is important to keep offering healthy lunch box choices in a variety of ways, as children learn to eat what becomes familiar to them.
  • Encourage your child to sit and eat before heading out to play, or talk to your school to ensure that all children get enough time to eat before play. 
  • Be sure your child likes his or her lunch box style.  Find out whether they prefer the latest style or a simple brown paper bag, and whether it opens easily. 
  • Plan a lunch menu around special days and event.  Try using lots of colorful foods, designs, or even include a note, or a joke. Kids like to celebrate special days.
  • It'’s okay to pack your child'’s favorite, not-so-nutritious food once in a while.  The trick is to keep an eye on portion size and moderation. 
  • The school lunch box should always include: a crunchy vegetable, fresh fruit, a dairy food, a meat or protein food, and a whole-grain food, such as bread, pita, or crackers. 

Even though lunch seems like a small meal, it can have a big impact on the food choices a child makes over a lifetime! Keeping these lunch box tips and suggestions in mind should help beat the lunch-box-boredom and make the grade with good nutrition! 

Recipe Corner 

Banana Wheat Muffins
Makes 10 large muffins
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 medium ripe bananas)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine bananas, brown sugar, oil and eggs. Mix well.
  • Stir dry ingredients together and add to banana mixture, mixing to combine.
  • Half cup of chopped nuts may be added to the batter.
  • Spoon into well-greased muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.

Amazing Apple Smoothie
Makes 2 servings
2 apples (sliced and core removed)
¾ cup 100% apple juice
1 cup frozen yogurt, plain or fruit flavor
Dash of cinnamon
Any other fruit you wish

  • Blend together apples (and other fruit) with apple juice in blender until smooth.
  • Add frozen yogurt and cinnamon to mixture. 
  • Blend until smooth. Enjoy!