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BACK TO SCHOOL: Help kids develop healthy lifestyle

Students are more likely to succeed if they are healthy and active. With families preparing for the start of school, here are some  tips to encourage healthy eating and an active lifestyle:


Primary students:

• Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your children’s snacks and lunches every day.

• Have your children help you pack their lunches, so they can learn to make healthy choices early on.

• Help your children learn about and understand Canada’s Food Guide.

• To encourage fitness take family walks with your children and, if possible, walk them to school.

• Introduce your children to active games they can play on their own, like hopscotch or jumping rope. When more children are around, introduce tag, soccer or baseball.


Intermediate/middle school students:

• Whenever possible, encourage your children to walk, ride, rollerblade or skateboard to school instead of you driving them.

• Suggest that your children take the dog for a walk before and after school.

• Limit your children’s screen time. Explain to your children that it’s important to sit less and move more in order to stay at a healthy weight.

• As children grow, their nutritional needs change. Continue to encourage healthy eating habits using Canada’s Food Guide to plan healthy meals and snacks.

• Teach your children to limit foods high in sugar, fat and sodium, and help them learn to replace these foods with more nutritious snacks instead.


Secondary students:

• Encourage your teens to get plenty of rest to ensure they are alert and ready to learn at school.

• Encourage your teenagers to get involved in after-school sports.

• Suggest your teenagers take a class at the local community centre or encourage them to participate in a walking or hiking group.

• Teach your children how to buy, prepare and enjoy healthy meals using Canada’s Food Guide.


All Parents:

• Encourage your children to eat breakfast every day, as it provides fuel for the brain to learn and helps them maintain a healthy weight.

• Keep nutritious foods, like cut-up vegetables and fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt and butter-free popcorn on hand to make healthy snacking easy.

• If your child has food allergies, co-ordinate with the school principal on an updated emergency plan that best meets your child’s


• Schedule regular dental and any necessary medical checkups.

• Encourage your children to choose milk or water at meals instead of sugary drinks or energy drinks.

• Get children active through sports, or go for nightly family walks or bike rides.

• Develop good hand-washing habits, as frequent hand-washing reduces the spread of cold and flu viruses.