Education Minister Serge Rousselle is pledging to work with schools and districts to make sure provincial policies about serving nutritious food in school cafeterias are followed.
Doctors and dietitians released a report this week that found a large proportion of schools are not meeting healthy food guidelines.
Rouselle said he believes more work needs to be done to improve the healthy eating options in school cafeterias.
“I strongly believe that if you offer good food, good healthy food to kids, they will eat it,” the education minister said.
“So I think the problem is more, we have to follow the policy and as long as we follow the policy, I think we will attain the goal that we want. We all know that when kids eat well, they are a lot better to learn.”
He said he is not sure whether the Department of Education has conducted any reviews of the nutritional policy have been conducted since the policy was brought in.
Rousselle said he is not ready to talk about punitive measures for schools that do not follow the rules.
Instead, the education minister said he wants to find out more about why the policies are not being implemented.
He said contracts with food providers will be evaluated for nutrition.
The Make Menus Matter project of the New Brunswick Medical Society and New Brunswick Dietitians in Action analyzed more than 100 school menus from around the province, representing 41 per cent of the province's schools.
Of those examined, 27 per cent met provincial nutritional guidelines and 54 per cent did not. It was not clear whether the other 19 per cent of the menus met guidelines.
In 2005, the New Brunswick government established rules to remove food with low nutritional value from school vending machines, cafeterias and fundraisers, including candy, sweetened drinks, French fries, pastries and hotdogs.
Foods that have moderate nutrition but contain higher levels of fat, sugar and sodium; for example salted soups, milkshakes and canned vegetables, are offered in a limited way — each about twice a week.
Foods recommended for daily consumption include whole grains, fresh vegetables, white milk and lean cuts of meat.