Set Up Your Program


You should be commended for your interest in starting a Student Nutrition Program (SNP) at your school. You are about to become involved in a very rewarding program that has such positive benefits for children and youth. This handbook is intended to support you every step of the way in the development of your SNP.

The purpose of a SNP is to provide nutritious food, including breakfast, lunch and/or snacks to children and youth. The central objectives of the program are to support the healthy development of children, and having children attending school ready to learn. The SNP must adopt a universal approach by providing all children and youth with the opportunity to participate regardless of socioeconomic status. Every participant of the program should be made to feel welcome.

There are many reasons why students participate in nutrition programs, including:

  • Long bus rides to school
  • Insufficient food in the home
  • Hurried morning routines are becoming more common
  • Lack of parental supervision at mealtime
  • Child is not hungry before leaving for school
  • Child likes the social aspects of eating with their friends

Offering children and youth nourishing food is a fundamental component to enhancing their healthy development and ability to learn. Research shows the many benefits attributed to participating in a SNP including improved academic performance, higher rates of school attendance, fewer classroom disruptions, improved student behaviour and a more nutritious and healthy diet. Therefore, participation in a SNP can play a consequential role in improving student success and the healthy development of children and youth.

Some financial support for food and other program costs is available from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, administered by the Peterborough Family Resource Centre - the lead agency in Ontario Central East. Your local Student Nutrition Program Coordinator can help you complete the necessary application. The funding available is calculated with consideration to a number of factors, including: rural areas and the higher cost of food in these regions; vulnerable children and youth; regions with widely distributed populations; varying income levels; and areas expected to experience high population growth. Other factors considered are the type of meal offered i.e.: breakfast, snack or lunch; the number of children participating; the number of serving days, in-kind contributions including the number of volunteers, the total number of volunteer hours as well as parental contributions, fundraising events, food, supplies, equipment, non-consumables and cash donations. Each school receives a percentage, which varies each year, of the total cost of running their program.

Student Nutrition Programs:
A Guide to Getting Started

Student Nutrition Programs:
A Guide to Getting Started Resource Documents

Documents Available for Download

Appendices Available for Individual Download in PDF Format

Author Information:

Compiled by Mary Bark
with files from:

-The Toronto District School Board
-York Region Food for Learning
-Toronto Public Health
(Appendices D & E)
-The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (Appendix F)

Student Nutrition Program - Ontario Central East Region