What You Need To Know

What You Need To Know About
Ontario's School Food and Beverage Policy

Schools have an important role to play in helping students lead healthier lives, including teaching students the skills to make healthy choices and reinforcing those lessons through school practices.

WitWhat You Need To Knowh the implementation of Ontario’s new school food and beverage policy, Ontario will soon have a healthier approach to selling lunches, snacks and drinks. The nutrition standards— part of Ontario's new School Food and Beverage Policy, P/PM 150 —help schools provide healthy menu items for all students. The nutrition standards embody the principles of healthy eating outlined in Canada’sFood Guide and are intended to ensure that the food and beverages sold in schools contribute to students' healthy growth and development.

Introducing nutrition standards is one part of the government’s plan to develop healthy learning environments and improve student achievement in Ontario schools. Research has shown that children who eat a healthy diet are more attentive, more ready to learn and more likely to be successful in school.

How Do the Nutrition Standards Work?

As a guide on what can and cannot be sold in Ontario schools, the nutrition standards divide all food and beverage products into three categories:

  • Healthiest, Sell Most (80%): Products in this category are the healthiest option and generally have higher levels of essential nutrients and lower amounts of fat, sugar, and/or sodium. They must make up at least 80 per cent of all food and beverage choices that are available for sale.

  • Healthy, Sell Less (20%): Products in this category may have slightly higher amounts of fat, sugar, and/or sodium than food and beverages in the Sell Most category. They must make up no more than 20 per cent of all food and beverage choices that are available for sale. In addition, food prepared and served by schools should always be prepared in a healthy way using cooking methods that require little or no added fat or sodium, such as baking, barbequing, boiling, broiling, grilling, microwaving, poaching, roasting, steaming or stir-frying.

  • Not Permitted for Sale: Products in this category generally contain few or no essential nutrients and/or contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium. Food and beverages in this category may not be sold in schools and include such items as: candy, energy drinks, sports drinks, deep-fried and other fried foods.
The Ministry’s School Food and Beverage Policy – Quick Reference Guide 2010 provides information on the above categories and the formulas used to determine the nutrition standards.