Teachers, schools and daycare centres
School Mealtimes aims to create safe and empowering school food environments that help school-aged children to become confident, adventurous eaters.

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School Mealtimes We ❤️ Early Childhood Educators

We know that teachers want the best outcomes for their students. We appreciate that schools and childcare centres are dedicated to promoting good health, and we are all aware of the complexities and challenges of working in this space. 

Educators are telling us that they struggle to navigate school food environments. This includes:

  • Pressures from parents who demand educators ‘make’ children eat
  • Increased workload and responsibility in an area outside of their expertise
  • A lack of training and support in the area of nutrition
  • Limited time, capacity or desire to monitor lunchboxes 
  • A feeling of overwhelm from the addition of these responsibilities to an already full school day

Educators are also telling us that they want to drive positive change in their schools and early childhood settings, but don't know where to start.

School Mealtimes is here to help!

Where to start Creating safe food environments for children

Evidence shows that the following actions can foster supportive food environments that help children to learn to like all kinds of foods and feel good about their body. Teachers, schools and daycare centres can play a really powerful role in helping kids have a positive, lifelong relationship with food.

Check out the Evidence page for Frequently Asked Questions and a summary of the relevant literature underpinning these recommendations.

Great news - you can probably achieve these by doing less, not more.

How do we do it?

Here are some responses from our recent teacher survey, where you gave us wonderful examples of how you are already supporting students at mealtimes:

I give my kids extra time to eat. That way they aren’t rushing out the door to play and not eating anything.

No one comments on the food. We tell kids to put uneaten food back in the lunchbox, not the bin.

2 equal size breaks of 40 mins (split into 10 mins, sit and eat and 30 mins play). Because the breaks are equal length, we don't police the lunchboxes here or encourage eating certain things first etc.

I feel kids should eat what they want in whichever order they like - there’s so much ‘control’ in a classroom - why do we need to add stress to eating time?! Parents are packing the lunches they want their kids to eat - so we teachers just need to back off and let them eat them!!

As a teacher I'd say these days 90% of children's lunches are balanced so for me it's easy, offer breaks and let the children decide what they need at that time of the day some eat more in morning others mid to arvo.

As far as I'm aware we don't have a policy on lunchboxes... We participate in crunch and sip but it is as an additional fruit/veg snack before recess. 

I have seen some teachers and EAs making kids eat sandwich first or finish it before play and others that do no policing. I personally don't police food but would always mention to a parent if their child was taking so long to eat that they were hardly playing. 


You can start fostering positive eating environments right now, whether your school has a food and nutrition policy in place or not.

Be the change Food and nutrition policy

Follow the steps below to start advocating for policy change in your school or childcare centre.

School Mealtimes Let's be the change

We all want what's best for our children. Even small changes can have a big impact. 


Want some FREE Tools? Enter your email address to download the resource kit

Freebies for parents, teachers, schools and childcare centres:

  • Open letter to schools
  • Handout for parents
  • Normal eating in childhood
  • Suggested school policy
  • Newsletter graphic
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Mealtimes Join the Family

We're here to help you support your child to grow into a confident and adventurous eater who feels good about their body.

For 1 - 4 year olds

4 years Plus