Health

Nova Scotia public schools to get better breakfast programs

Provincial government has doubled funding for the School Healthy Eating Program

Margo Riebe-Butt, executive director of Nourish Nova Scotia, hands out drinks at Burton Ettinger Elementary School on Monday.   Olivia Lavery

Every public school in Nova Scotia should be able to offer breakfast programs or expand on food programs that are already in place, the province said Monday.

The provincial government announced Monday morning, at Burton Ettinger Elementary in Halifax, it will double funding for the School Healthy Eating Program, from under $1 million to nearly $2 million. 

“(The money will) ensure that all students will have access to a healthy meal in the morning,” said Atlantic MLA Brendan Maguire, who was there on behalf of the health and wellness minister.

For schools like Burton Ettinger that already have breakfast programs, the funding will allow them to start providing fruit and vegetable snacks, healthier lunch programs and after-school snacks. 

Andrea Briand, principal of Burton Ettinger, says the breakfast program is good for children who rush out the door in the morning.   Olivia Lavery

Principal Andrea Briand said that the program takes pressure off of kids and their parents to eat breakfast before they rush out the door.

“As an educator, I think it’s important that everybody starts the day with a really good breakfast,” said Briand during the announcement.

Margo Riebe-Butt, executive director of Nourish Nova Scotia, said breakfast programs are important for students who have a long commute time or early morning practice, and for those whose parents start work early.

“Kids may be left to fend for themselves in the morning without the knowledge and skills to actually make those breakfasts,” she said.

Nourish Nova Scotia, a non-profit organization that promotes health and food literacy in schools, has worked closely with the government and schools to create healthy eating programs.

Atlantic MLA Brendan Maguire goes for a high five with a Burton Ettinger student at Monday’s announcement.   Olivia Lavery