Proposing a Framework for School Food Program Evaluation in Canada




School food program evaluation, school meal program evaluation, school food evaluation, evaluation


Healthy eating in school-aged children supports optimal growth and learning; however, diet quality and food insecurity are a source of concern for many school-aged children in Canada. Canadian school-aged children’s diets are a concern. In 2019 the Canadian federal government announced the intention to work towards a National School Food Program. A nationally organized program can evolve and meet the needs of children if there is a national evaluation strategy developed along with the program. A scoping review published in 2019 consisted of reports of school food programs in Canada evaluating nutritional impacts and food system sustainability. Food system sustainability recognizes the full impact that school food programs can have on individual, community, and environmental health by integrating social determinants of health, food systems, and economic sustainability. We conducted a content analysis of the evaluation strategies of these programs. Of the 17 peer-reviewed and 18 grey literature publications in the initial scoping review, 12 peer-reviewed and seven grey literature publications contained an evaluation component. Components assessed social determinants of health, including changes in food intake, knowledge about local foods, educational and behavioural outcomes, general knowledge, intention to eat, and willingness to try new foods. An evaluation template for school food programs including categories for social systems, environmental and economic sustainability would capture elements contributing to program impact.


Author Biographies

Stephanie Ward, Université de Moncton

Professeure adjointe

École des sciences des aliments, de nutrition et d'études familiales

Wanda Martin, University of Saskatchewan

Associate Professor

College of Nursing

Rachel Engler-Stringer, University of Saskatchewan

Associate Professor

Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine




How to Cite

Everitt, T., Ward, S., Martin, W., & Engler-Stringer, R. (2022). Proposing a Framework for School Food Program Evaluation in Canada. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 9(3), 147–175.