School Nutritional Health

 

Learning is all about exercising brains in a way that makes them grow. But just like muscles, brains need fuel and the better the quality of the fuel, the better the performance.

Brain fuel for children requires a nutrient-rich diet that includes iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Yet research shows that many Alberta children are not receiving the minimum number of servings of the primary food groups, and between seven and 16 per cent of them are consuming more fat that recommended.

The result of poor eating patterns has been tied to decreased cognitive function and academic performance. It has also been linked to greater risk in later life for major diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and has been tied to both poor behaviour and self esteem issues.

While each Rocky View School is unique, the following process can help schools develop an action plan to build a healthy approach to eating into their school cultures:

  1. Form a collaborative team with stakeholders and identify a health champion.
  2. Create a shared vision for a healthy school food environment.
  3. Assess the current school environment.
  4. Develop an action plan focusing on at least one priority area.
  5. Work with businesses, organizations, parent-run and volunteer food service providers to offer healthy food items.
  6. Use resources available in the read, watch, do sections below, including specific implementation resources developed by Alberta Health Services.
  7. Reflect, evaluate and celebrate the implementation of healthy eating initiatives.

Targets for Schools

Elementary: RVS recommends elementary schools aim to have 100 per cent of the food and drinks made available to students through the cafeteria, vending machines, and school events fall into the choose or sell most often category.

Junior High and High School: As students mature and are better able to make informed choices, junior high and high schools may include some foods and drinks from the choose (or sell) sometimes category. It is still recommended that 60 per cent of the foods and drinks available in junior high and at least 50 per cent in high school fall in the highest nutritional category.

Schools should not make foods from the choose (or sell) least often category available.

Food Rating System

Choose (or sell) most often

Choose (or sell) sometimesChoose (or sell) least often
  • Foods high in nutritional value (vitamins, minerals and fibre)
  • Foods low in unhealthy fat, added sugar, and salt
  • Eat daily
  • Foods with moderate amounts of nutrients
  • Foods higher in sugar, sodium, and/or fat
  • Eat no more than two or three times a week
  • Foods low in nutrients
  • Foods high in fat, sugar or salt
  • Eat rarely and in small portions

Contacts

Contact Nikki Demyen by phone (403) 945-4069 or ndemyen@rockyview.ab.ca for additional support.

Contact Mabel Pugh, Material Supply by phone (403) 945-4098 or mpugh@rockyview.ab.ca for information regarding contracts for cafeteria services (Chartwells), snack vending (Mr. Vend-It), and beverages (Coca-Cola).

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