Ontario students' junk food cravings now have to be satisfied outside of school and many admit they will have to adjust their taste buds.

Beginning this year, schools no longer showcase vending machines or cafeteria menus with candy, chocolate or deeply fried foods thanks to the Healthy Schools for Healthy Foods Act.

At Ottawa's Nepean High School, the french fries are no longer fried, but rather sprayed with olive oil and baked, and the pizza features pepperoni made from low-fat turkey.


Ontario schools have created healthier alternatives, such as this pizza, after the province instituted the Healthy Schools for Healthy Foods Act. ((CBC))

Even the muffins are being replaced with tuna and cracker snacks. It is all low-sodium and fat-free as schools are making nutrition a focus.

Students say they can notice a difference in the various foods, including the french fries.

"They're thicker now and they taste more like a real potato than greasy french fries," said Grade 10 student Ashton Reif, "They're good, they'll take a little getting used to, but they're not bad."

Grade 12 student Ezzie Urquhart said he already misses his brownie muffins. But he admitted the movement towards a healthier alternative is positive.

"I guess it's better so future kids will not have the crazy junk food cravings I do," he said with a laugh.

Schools setting an example

High school principal Rene Bibaud conceded students will always savour the bag of chips and pop, and he will not stop them from bringing it to school.

But schools, he said, have to set a good example.

"We talk about the 21st century school. I think we had to change not only the way we teach, but the way we eat and stay fit," said Bibaud.

"But it's not a magic bullet, it's one meal during their day."

Vending machines have also switched to sell only decaffeinated sugar-free soft drinks. In the end, Bibaud said he hopes the change can help facilitate more active lifestyles.

"It's about trade offs and what's best for students," he said, "If we can help students make better choices and healthy choices and stay active, you know we'll find ways to supplement the teams and the clubs here at Nepean High School and all schools."

The new act will not expect schools to quit the junk food business through cold turkey, though. Schools will be exempt from the rules for 10 days per year.