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Guidelines for Healthier Eating at School

January 14, 2014 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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Guidelines for Healthier Eating at School

Hey parents! Are you looking for some assurance that your child's school lunch and snack money is being spent on healthier choices?

If so, read on. The Guidelines for Food and Beverages Sales in BC Schools (the Guidelines) are designed to ensure that the food and beverages available for sale at school and school related events are healthier choices. Why do we care about what kids eat and drink at school? We know that healthy eating helps students do their best at school, builds healthy behaviours, gives kids the energy they need to learn and play and reduces the risk of chronic disease down the road. 

The Guidelines are mandated policy for all BC public schools. Schools will now begin the work of implementing these revised Guidelines, so that they are fully in place at the beginning of the 2014/15 school year.

The revised 2013 edition of the Guidelines is based on the 2010 edition, but has been improved in many ways.

Key changes include:

  • new fact sheets and an At-a-Glance brochure to help schools use the Guidelines
  • a new and improved way to score freshly made food using 'the Checklist'
  • revised nutrient criteria that continue to reduce the amount of sugar, sodium and fat in the food and beverages sold to students
  • a complete makeover that makes the Guidelines much easier to use and understand

Parents, schools and food providers will continue to have free support by telephone (dial 8-1-1) and email from the registered dietitians at HealthLink BC. Also, anyone who distributes or provides prepackaged food and beverages for sale to students can use the Brand Name Food List, an online database of pre-scored products, to save the effort of scoring products themselves.

Even with all these supporting resources, schools will still benefit from the help of parents to ensure that the Guidelines are fully implemented at each school. Parents who are involved in selling food and beverages at bake sales and other fundraising events have the tools within the Guidelines to ensure they are providing healthier choices. If parents are wondering what steps their child's school is taking to implement the Guidelines, they can find out more by speaking with the school's principal.

All said, the Guidelines will help to ensure that your kids have access to nutritious food and beverages while at school and, provided they stay on the school grounds, any lunch money they spend will go towards healthier choices.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Related Posts:
Recipes and Tips for School Lunches
Healthy Eating at School Beyond the Lunch Bag
Get Involved
Creating Healthy Schools

Recommended Resources:
For links to the Guidelines for food and beverage sales in BC schools and all supportive resources, please visit HealthLink BC
HealthLink BC: Brand Name Food List
Healthy Schools BC

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