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Healthy Food

Nanaimo Innovation Academy's kitchen and food program is certified by the

Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) of British Columbia.

At Nanaimo Innovation Academy (NIA), we know that there is no better preparation

for play and learning than a good meal and snacks. We strongly believe that offering children healthy, fresh, seasonal, home-made meals and snacks help to lay the foundation for a happy and healthy day. Two light snacks (morning and afternoon) and lunch are provided each day to nourish your child’s growing body and brain.


Eating together is an opportunity for education about nutrition and wellness, nature, personal growth, food economy, and culture. We are dedicated to transforming the health of children by designing hands-on educational experiences in the garden, kitchen, and dining area that connect children to food, nature, and each other.


Our Menu

Our menu reflects our conscious effort to provide the best food using healthy, whole, local, sustainable, seasonal, and organic foods whenever possible. We prefer simple recipes that focus on the best nutritional values to make fresh and flavourful meals.


At NIA, we value the cultural aspects and variety in the foods we offer. Children at a young age should be exposed to an assortment of foods, tastes, and textures. Our meals are served family-style so that children can engage with food and learn skills to foster independence. Children participate in setting the tables for lunch each day and have opportunities to practice serving themselves.


The following principles help guide us in our menu planning:

  • BC Child Care Licensing Regulation (48) states we should serve, "healthy food and drink according to Canada's Food Guide". The Canada Food Guide has been recently updated and suggests roughly half of food intake consists of fruit and veg, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 whole grain.

  • Consideration of food allergies and sensitivities.

  • Low sodium, low sugar and low saturated fats.

  • Avoiding preservatives, such as those found in deli meats or products with a long shelf life.

  • Recipes, experiences, and thoughts from “The Languages of Food”, by Reggio Children, “The Art of Simple Food” and “Edible Schoolyard” by Alice Waters, and “The Family Dinner” by Laurie David.


Food Basics

  • Children are always encouraged to try at least one bite of everything offered but are never forced to finish all food.

  • Children may eat as much as they need to feel full. We encourage children to listen to their bodies.

  • No child will be left unsupervised when consuming food or drinks.

  • All food will be prepared so that the risks of choking are minimized (for example, cutting grapes into slivers).

  • Weekly menus are available to parents. Parents may ask at any time for more information regarding the ingredients.

  • We do not track the exact amount of food that was consumed each day by each child. The teacher may anecdotally relay information to parents if asked. 

  • We are focusing on a largely vegetarian menu. For items that include a meat protein, a vegetarian option of the dish will be offered for those identified as vegetarian.

  • Drinking water is very important and will be served with every meal. We may provide smoothies on the occasion, but water will be the main beverage served.

  • In addition to two snacks and lunch, there may be special baking projects at other times throughout the day.

  • Food and drink are never used as a form of reward or punishment.

  • Everything will be either raw, boiled, steamed, baked or pan-fried. We do not deep-fry anything.

Food Examples


  • Homemade granola bars and yogurt

  • Green banana pancakes with fruit kabobs

  • Multigrain coconut vanilla crepes with fruit

  • A variety of hummus with vegetables and pita

  • Scrambled egg quesadilla with salsa and Greek yogurt

  • Cheesy egg and veg frittata muffins

  • Banana bread with apples and almond butter

  • Egg white bites


  • Chicken vegetable curry with wholegrain rice and naan

  • Healthy Mac and Cheese 

  • Tofu tacos (with tomatoes, cucumbers, guacamole and cheese)

  • Black bean turkey chilli (with vegetables) with wild rice and cornbread

  • Salmon and corn chowder (with vegetables) and wholegrain bread

  • Greek chicken quinoa salad

  • Buddha bowls

  • Avocado rolls, prawn sunamono salad, and miso soup

  • Lentil spaghetti with tomato sauce and bruschetta

  • Grilled salmon with roasted veggies and rice

  • Lemon herb couscous salad with grilled chicken



  • Vegetable crudites (carrot, cucumber, broccoli) and dip

  • Pumpkin muffins and fruit

  • Butternut squash soup with wholegrain bread

  • 7-layer dip with tortilla chips

  • Spinach dip with veggies and pita

  • Vegetable and barley soup with bannock

  • Cheesy Quinoa Veggie Bites

  • Energy Balls

  • Homemade Pizza



  • Vegetarian Lasagna

  • Take-home Taco Kit

  • Veggie Curry with brown rice and naan



  • Blueberry Scones

  • Oat Bars

  • Granola Bars

  • Egg white bites

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