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Healthy Eating and Starting School

Learn how to promote healthy eating at school.

Healthy Snacks

Every fall parents and caregivers are faced with the lunch box challenge...meeting a child's nutritional needs despite lunches become boring over time.

Tips for Preparing Lunches

  1. Follow Canada’s Food Guide (external link) and include a variety of healthy foods each day:
    1. Vegetables and Fruits - think of a rainbow of choices (broccoli, carrots, blueberries, bananas)
    2. Protein Foods - smoothies, yogurt, cheese, Kefir, egg, legumes, lean meats and tofu
    3. Whole Grains -  crackers, breads, pita
  2. Use fresh ingredients where possible.
  3. Choose nutritious drinks such as water, milk, or 100% fruit juice.
  4. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  5. Limit processed foods (deli meats, pop, candy,cheese strings, chips)
  6. Use an insulated lunch bag to keep hot and cold foods at a safe temperature.
  7. Get children involved in preparing meals and snacks. This is a great way for them to learn about healthy eating and start to pack their own lunches for school.

Tips for Eating at School

  • Refer to the school's guidelines for snacks and lunches. Leave foods out of lunches that may cause allergic reactions. You will receive communication from the school about foods to avoid.
  • Find containers that the child can open with little help and have them practice opening and closing them. Schools often have older students help out at lunch but it is best if the child can do this on their own.
  • Many schools are eco-friendly and promote litterless lunches. Families are encouraged to pack snacks in reusable containers to reduce waste. The benefit to this is that you will know what your child is eating or not eating!
  • There is not a lot of time to eat lunch at school. Pack small, healthy, easy to eat items that they can start now and finish later.
  • Find out what foods works best for the child. Soup or pasta may be too messy for your child in Kindergarten, but less messy once they reach grade 1. It will be trial and error for you in the beginning so be patient…they won’t starve!


Currently the Nutri-eSTEP website to assess your child's eating habits is undergoing changes and is not available. 

Still concerned about your child's eating? The NutriSTEP Nutrition Screening Tool is a questionnaire where parents answer questions about:

  • Eating habits
  • Growth and development
  • Family mealtimes
  • Physical activity

Questionnaires are available for toddlers (18-35 months) and preschoolers (3-5 years).

Complete the NutriSTEP questionnaire online now. If you have any questions or concerns about your results you can contact HaltonParents or visit UnlockFood (external link).

Picky Eating

Check out these tips to deal with picky eaters (PDF file).