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Children and youth who eat wholesome, tasty and nutritious foods are better learners and more likely to be successful in school. Eating well also supports healthy growth and encourages healthy eating habits for life. Schools have an important role to teach students about healthy eating and reinforce those lessons throughout the school food environment. Does your school have a healthy food environment?
Resources for healthy eating and nutrition
See ideas and resources below that support healthy eating:
Curriculum, teaching & learning
- Use only Canadian resources such as Canada’s Food Guide when teaching about nutrition and healthy eating.
- Teach about food and food systems using AgScape (Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc.) classroom programs and resources for grades 1-12
- Use BrightBites to find nutrition education resources from Ontario dietitians.
- Use the Hamilton Edible Education Guide for resources and field trips about food and food literacy.
- Use the Sip Smart! ™ Ontario Teacher Resource Guide to learn how to include key messages on making healthy drink choices in classroom teaching.
- Access the Water at School Toolkit to promote water as the beverage of choice at school.
- Speak with a Registered Dietitian from Telehealth Ontario over speakerphone in the classroom to answer students’ nutrition questions: call Toll-free: 1-866-797-0000.
- Use the Paint Your Plate! Vegetable and Fruit Action Guide to promote vegetable and fruit consumption through curriculum-based lesson plans for FDK to grade 8.
- Contact AgScape's Teacher Ambassadors Program to arrange for an Ontario Certified Teacher to come and teach your grade 7-12 class about agriculture, food, health and the environment.
Classroom & school leadership
- Assess your school’s healthy eating environment, by completing the Healthy School Planner.
- Create a school policy where achievement and success are recognized with non-food rewards and earn an It’s An Honour Reward and Incentives badge from BrightBites.
- Host classroom celebrations that align with healthy eating classroom lessons.
- Make sure all classroom lessons and activities are supportive of healthy eating and earn a Zesty Lessons badge from BrightBites.
- Support students to assess the school’s healthy eating environment by completing the Healthy School Planner.
- Teach students about Photovoice (PDF, 7 MB) and encourage them to use it to express their thoughts on their school food culture, and what helps or hinders healthy eating.
- Help students plan a school-wide event to learn about and taste local vegetables; get ideas and recipes from FoodLand Ontario.
- Help students transition from sugary drinks to plain water by experimenting with flavoured water – start by using SipSmart!™ Ontario flavoured water recipes.
Social & physical environments
- Make the school cafeteria a safe and pleasant eating space and earn a Fresh It Up badge from BrightBites.
- Help everyone enjoy eating at school with these tips for a relaxed and positive experience.
- Use the Water at School Toolkit to ensure that students and staff have easy access to clean, fresh water to drink during the school day, and at all school events and celebrations.
- Start a Student Nutrition Program by connecting with Hamilton Tastebuds.
- Start or continue a school milk program.
- Purchase refillable water bottles through the Hamilton Water Education Program or email [email protected].
- Use the Ministry of Education School Food and Beverage Policy online learning modules to learn about selling healthy food in school.
- Use Seeds to Success, Hamilton’s School Garden Toolkit to start a school garden.
Home, school & community partnerships
- Fundraise with healthy food: Fresh from the Farm.
- Apply for a Green Apple Grant and your school could receive $1,000 for a project that helps students develop healthy eating habits.
- Fundraise with refillable water bottles through the Hamilton Water Education Program or email [email protected].
- Get support for your student nutrition program from the Hamilton Tastebuds: Student Nutrition Collaborative.
- Contact Hamilton Community Garden Network for help starting a community garden.
- Book a field trip or guest educator using the Hamilton Edible Education Guide
- Start an after school cooking club for students.
- Plan school celebrations and BBQs with healthier foods - Meal Ideas are available on BrightBites.
Contact a Public Health Dietitian or Public Health Nurse by emailing [email protected] for help and advice on healthy eating in schools.
What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Holistic Nutritionist?
- 4 year Bachelor of Science degree in food and nutrition from accredited university;
- Completion of minimum 1 year accredited dietetic internship in clinical or community setting. (Over 1250 hours of supervised training);
- National Dietetic Registration exam for licensing.
- Optional: Masters or PhD degrees, continuing education certificates.
- 1 - 2 year diploma program in Natural Nutrition from a private vocational school, such as the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition or the Edison Institute of Nutrition;
- 50-100 hours of case study work with a holistic professional.
- Board exam.
- Optional: Advanced Holistic Nutrition workshops offered by the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.
Regulated Health Professionals?
- Yes. Dietitians are the only professionals provincially regulated to provide nutrition advice (Regulated Health Professionals Act).
- No. Holistic nutrition professionals are self-regulated.
- Hospitals, Public Health Units, Federal and Provincial governments, Community Health Centres, Diabetes Education Centres, Family Health Teams, food industry, grocery stores, Long Term Care, Private Practice, research, universities, etc.
- Private Health and Wellness Clinics, Fitness Centres, Food Industry, Nutritional Supplement Industry, Natural Health Centres and Spas, health food stores, conference and retreat centres, etc.
Scope of Practice
- The Dietetic Scope of Practice Statement as defined in the Dietetics Act, 1991 is: “The practice of dietetics is the assessment of nutrition and nutritional conditions and the treatment and prevention of nutrition related disorders by nutritional means.”
- Principal function is to educate individuals or groups about the benefits and health impacts of optimal nutrition.
- See their Scope of Practice document.
- Just like all regulated health professionals, dietitians are committed and required to stay on top of emerging research, skills, and techniques. They adhere to Principles of Professional Practice and are accountable to the College of Dietitians of Ontario for the highest standards of evidence-informed practice and ethics.
- As part of their Code of Ethics, CSNN Graduates agree to:
- Accept full responsibility for the consequences of his/her own acts;
- Resolve to improve and maintain his/her professional competence in the field of natural nutrition and holistic health care.
Can themselves a Nutritionist?
- Yes. Nutritionist is not a protected or regulated title in Ontario. RHN (Registered Holistic Nutritionist) is a Registered Trademark and NOT a professional designation.
Call themselves a Dietitian?
- Yes. Dietitian is a protected title across Canada, just like physician, nurse and pharmacist. Look for the initials RD or PDt (DtP in French) after the health professional's name or ask - are you a dietitian?
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