Healthy Eating | Ophea Teaching Tools
    Healthy Eating

    What better place to discuss and practice healthy eating than at school surrounded by all your peers? Along with your friends and teachers, you can learn about your food environment and healthy eating practices. Your whole school and community can teach, challenge and motivate each other to make the best food choices so that you can be the healthiest version of you!

    Healthy eating is many things. Healthy eating gives your body the nutrients and energy it needs to get through the day. It helps to improve your health and well-being and can lower your risk of health problems. No single food can give you all the nutrients your body needs in the right amount, so healthy eating means eating a variety of foods. Canada’s Food Guide is a tool that can help you make healthy food choices. Canada’s Food Guide tells us the types and amounts of food to eat each day from each of the four food groups: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives. Canada’s Food Guide encourages us to do the following:

    • Select a variety of foods from each of the four food groups.
    • Emphasize vegetables (especially ones that are dark green or orange) and fruit.
    • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.
    • Select lower fat milk and milk alternatives.
    • Choose meat alternatives (beans, lentils, tofu, etc.), fish and leaner meats more often.
    • Limit foods and drinks that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt.

    But healthy eating is about balance too, so it’s ok to occasionally have foods that are not part of Canada’s Food guide, if you’re eating healthy food most of the time.

    Healthy eating is also more than just what foods you eat. It includes eating at regular meal times (including breakfast each morning) and listening to your body when you are hungry or full. Eating together as a family, and learning to shop for and prepare food are also important to develop healthy eating habits. Healthy eating has even been linked to school performance — meaning, when you eat well, you do better in school! Healthy eating and active living go hand in hand — so remember to also be physically active every day.

    You are not expected to become or be an expert on healthy eating to run any of these activities. Reach out to experts in your community who can help you plan activities! Consider contacting your local health unit and/or other local programs listed in this guide for support.

    You don’t have to come up with all of the ideas on your own (although we’re quite certain you have some amazing ones!). That’s what this guide is for—to spark interest, provide ideas, and offer activities that are ready to be used in your school, at home, or in your community.

    The action ideas in this guide are ones that can also be used for a variety of topics—we’ve modified them to be applicable to topics related to healthy eating.

    The Ideas for Action: Healthy Eating guide is part of Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification. Want your school to be certified for all the healthy things you do? Check out Ophea's Healthy Schools Certification.

    The Healthy Eating component of Healthy Schools is based on the Ministry of Education's Foundations for a Healthy School (2014). This topic includesstrategies and activities related to:

    • Environmental impact of food choices
    • Food access
    • Food safety
    • Living skills (e.g., self-awareness,
    • Critical and creative thinking)
    • Making healthy food choices
    • Nutrition
    • Oral and dental health
    • Positive mealtime practices
    • Use of Canada’s Food Guide