Nova Scotia students are returning to school after their Christmas holiday to find healthier food and beverage choices. Fruit juice and milk are replacing pop, and yogurt tubes and lower-fat muffins are bumping chips, doughnuts and other minimum nutrition snack foods from school canteens and lunch counters beginning in January. The Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools, introduced last September, gives the province’s 430 schools three years to phase out foods and beverages of minimum nutrition and replace them with healthier fare. Key policy requirements that come into effect this month include: Doughnuts, chocolate bars, chips, frozen novelties and other snacks of minimum nutrition will no longer be served or sold in schools; Deep-fat fryers will no longer be used to prepare food; Only 100 per cent juice, water, and milk (or nutritional milk alternative) can be served or sold; All schools will participate in the Department of Agriculture’s School Milk Program. Full policy implementation is expected by June 2009. Acting Education Minister Jamie Muir said students will benefit from having healthier food and beverage choices at school. “Nutrition, health and learning are all linked,” said Mr. Muir. “Students who eat nutritious meals and snacks learn more effectively, perform better in class and attend school more regularly.” The provincial school food policy uses a combination of directives and guidelines to promote healthy food and beverage choices. It also advances nutrition education, positive role modelling by school staff, and affordable pricing for healthy food items. The policy also establishes food and beverage standards, and gives schools direction on how to deal with school-based fundraising using foods and beverages. The Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools is available online at www.ednet.ns.ca/healthy_eating/ .