Feeding Your School-Aged Child

back pack with lunch

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Following Canada's Food Guide helps children grow and thrive. Just remember the food guide is exactly that; just a guide and not what you should expect your child to eat each day. What really counts are the eating habits gained over time.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • It’s normal for your child's appetite to change. Keep serving a variety of healthy foods without pressuring them to eat
  • Children do best when meals and snacks are offered at regular times each day, free from distractions. Use family meals at the dinner table as an opportunity to bond with your child
  • Young children have small appetites and need energy for growth and development. Don’t restrict nutritious foods because of their fat content
  • Children warm up slowly to new foods. This means seeing, touching, and tasting a food 8 to 15 times before they learn to like it
  • Be a positive role model. If children see fellow students, teachers, and parents enjoying healthy foods, they will be more likely to try them out too

Breakfast is Important

Breakfast is an important meal for your child as it provides them with the energy needed to be active and alert. Research shows well-nourished children are able to focus longer and perform better at school. Explore these quick and easy breakfast ideas.

School Lunches and Snacks

Healthy lunches and snacks fuel your child's brain at school and provide them with energy to be active throughout the day. Make the most out of what your child eats at school by providing them with a different nutritious foods from Canada's Food Guide.

What to include in a healthy school lunch

  • Start with a meat or alternative; for example, a hard-cooked egg, tuna salad or bean dip
  • Add a grain product such as whole grain bread, crackers or pita
  • Don’t forget to include a vegetable or fruit! Ideas include cut-up vegetables, whole fruit or thawed frozen berries
  • Pack a milk or alternative like milk, cheese, yogurt or fortified soy beverage to balance out the meal
  • Send a reusable water bottle to help your child quench their thirst
  • If desired, add a dessert. Healthy options include: fruit, homemade whole grain muffin, or yogurt

Lunch box tips

  • Ask your child for their favourite lunch and snack ideas. Getting your children involved in lunch planning may help them enjoy their meals at school more  
  • If your child has more than one nutrition break during the school day, you can divide the food into a meal and a snack or into two smaller meals. It may be helpful to label, colour code, or separate the food planned for each nutrition break within the lunch bag
  • Children usually have about 20 minutes to eat lunch at school. Keep portions small for younger children with smaller appetites. Whenever possible, peel fruit and chop up food into smaller bite-size pieces
  • Most schools in the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts require peanut-free lunches to protect the safety of children with allergies. Check with your school about foods that are not allowed in your child’s classroom

School food

North Bay
Parry Sound
Burk's Falls

345 Oak Street West

705-474-1400

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

705-746-5801

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)

1-800-563-2808