The National Healthy School Canteens Guidelines for healthy foods and drinks supplied in school canteens is based on the current 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines*, which gives advice on the quality and quantity of foods and drinks recommended for children in Australia to achieve optimal health and limit the risk of chronic diseases related to poor nutrition in adulthood.

2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines*

Guideline 1

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
  • Children and adolescents should eat sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally
  • They should be physically active every day and their growth should be checked regularly

Guideline 2

Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these food groups
  • Plenty of vegetables of different types and colours, and legume/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat
And drink plenty of water

Guideline 3

Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
a. Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other a savoury snacks
  • Replace high fat foods which contain predominately saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominately polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado
  • Low fat diets are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years
b. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt
  • Read labels to choose lower sodium options among similar foods
  • Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table
c. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugarsweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks

Guideline 4:

Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding.

Guideline 5:

Care for your food; prepare and store it safely

*Adapted from the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines, National Health and Medical Research Council.