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School operations

Canteens, Healthy Eating and Other Food Services

Everyday, Select Carefully and Occasionally food categories

To assist schools and school food services to select and supply healthy eating options, foods and drinks have been divided into three categories.

Everyday category (Green)

Foods and drinks in the Everyday category are consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and are most suitable for school food services.

Foods and drinks in the Everyday category are based on the basic food groups and include:

  • breads and cereals, rice, pasta, noodles
  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • dairy foods — reduced or low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts* and legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • water

Checklist

  • Include most often as the main choices on the canteen menu.
  • Make available every day the canteen is open.
  • Strongly encourage and promote these foods and drinks.
  • Include as the main choices at school event and activities involving foods and drinks.

Select Carefully category (Amber)

Foods and drinks in the Select Carefully category contain some valuable nutrients but may also include unhealthy ingredients. They are mainly processed foods that have fat, sugar or salt added.

Schools are encouraged to limit the availability of these foods. They should not be promoted at the expense of foods and drinks from the Everyday category.

Foods and drinks in the Select Carefully category include:

  • full-fat dairy foods, low-fat ice-cream
  • 100 per cent fruit juices and 100 per cent fruit-juice based ices
  • artificially sweetened drinks
  • reduced-fat processed meats
  • commercially prepared hot foods
  • reduced-fat, high-fibre snack foods
  • margarines, oils, spreads, sauces and gravies

Checklist

  • Do not let these foods and drinks dominate the menu.
  • Avoid large serve sizes.
  • Reduce the number of these foods on the canteen menu.
  • Offer these foods only on certain days of the week or limit selling time.
  • Select healthier choices within the category.
  • Select choices of these foods that contain fruits and/or vegetables or serve with fruits and/or vegetables.
  • Do not promote vigorously at the expense of foods and drinks from the Everyday category.

Occasionally category (Red)

Foods and drinks in the Occasionally category are not consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and are not recommended for school food services.

Schools should limit the availability of these foods and drinks to no more than two occasions per term.

Foods and drinks in this category include:

  • deep-fried foods
  • pastry-based or crumbed hot foods
  • savoury snack foods — crisps, chips, biscuits
  • ice-creams and ice confections — chocolate-coated and premium ice-creams, icy-poles and ice crushes
  • cakes, muffins, sweet pastries, slices, biscuits and bars
  • cream, butter and copha

The following should never be supplied due to their high sugar content:

  • high sugar content soft drinks, including energy drinks and flavoured mineral waters with high sugar content
  • confectionery, in accordance with the School Confectionery Guidelines.

Checklist

  • These foods and drinks should not be on the regular canteen menu.
  • Schools should limit the availability of these foods and drinks to no more than two occasions per term.
  • These foods and drinks should not regularly be available in other areas of the school such as in vending machines.
Guidance chapter on selecting healthy foods for school food services

Reviewed 09 June 2020

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