The school canteen is an integral part of the learning environment, and as such should operate in a manner that supports the health messages of curriculum. Schools are required to follow the Department of Education’s Student Health in Public Schools policy, and Appendix B Healthy Food and Drink.
For a menu to meet minimum compliance with the HFD policy it must contain:
- Minimum of 60% green items
- Maximum of 40% amber items
- Amber savoury commercial products limited to two days per week only
- No red items
For a simple 5 step guide on how to colour code your menu as well as ways to increase the percentage of green items see the Menu assessment guide.
When planning school menus, emphasis should be given to the following foods that contribute significantly to meeting students’ nutritional needs:
- Breads and cereal foods, e.g. rice, pasta, especially wholegrain varieties
- Fruit – preferably fresh, but including frozen and canned
- Vegetables – fresh, frozen and canned
- Reduced-fat varieties of milk, cheese, yoghurt and calcium fortified alternatives
- Lean meats, skin-free poultry, fish, eggs, baked beans and other legumes
- Plain water
Always include a wide variety of fruit, vegetable, bread, pasta and rice choices; use spreads sparingly; select reduced fat/salt/sugar products and choose varieties which are good sources of dietary fibre/calcium/iron where appropriate. If catering for vegetarians in your school see our great Plant based diets fact sheet for some suggestions as well as the recipes page for loads of ideas that will suit both non vegetarians and vegetarians alike. Plus see our Fuelling up young athletes fact sheet for ways to ensure students get all the nutrition they need.
When determining what a serve of fruits and vegetable are use this handy What is a serve checklist, it also has a great Fruit & Veg September: 30 day challenge calendar.
Use the Star Choice™ Registered Products to select products, such as soups, salads, pastries, hamburger patties, frankfurters, muffins and snacks that meet the nutrient criteria and are categorised as Green or Amber.