Healthy Snack Canteen in Schools
The environments where people eat, play and work have a direct impact on the foods we consume. Children are especially susceptible and easily influenced by what is available in their food environments such as at schools, rec centres, libraries etc. Poor eating habits, consuming high calorie snacks and eating less vegetables and fruits are some of the factors that can contribute to overweight and obesity in children.
Schools are an important environment where children and adults can learn about nutrition and promote healthy eating. Having healthy options in these environments can increase the opportunity to make choices which otherwise might not be readily available.
The Snack Shack: A Guide to Implementing a Healthy Snack Canteen in Schools is a great manual to organizing your own small healthy canteen in school to provide healthy items for sale to students and teachers. The Snack Shack manual follows the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth and was produced by Alberta Health Services in collaboration with the University of Lethbridge Health Sciences department.
The manual is broken down into five main components:
- Introduction – What is a Snack Shack, why it is important and what is needed to implement one in your school.
- Food Recipes – Sample recipes with ‘choose most often’ and ‘choose sometimes’ categories. More snack ideas and recipes can be found here:
- Costing – How to price items to ensure you are covering your costs.
- Promotion – How to advertise and market snacks to ensure they are appealing to students and teachers.
- Supporting Documents/Templates – All the documents needed to successfully implement a canteen.
The Snack Shack can also be used as a teaching moment in aspects of health, math and business. Students with an interest for business and/or health would be excellent champions for this canteen. Volunteers would also gain valuable experience learning how to run a business successfully and be able to use some of the practical information learned as they move forward in their life.
Melissa Chisholm is a Public Health Dietitian at Brooks Health Centre and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org