The National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines were developed and released by the Department of Health in 2011. These Guidelines encourage a nationally consistent approach to promoting healthy food through Australian school canteens.
The National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines were updated in 2014 following the release of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.
In the ACT, the Education Directorate has developed the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015 to align with the guidelines. In accordance with the policy, the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines apply to food and drinks sold in the canteen as well as any food and drinks sold or provided through other school activities, such as school events, catering, fundraising and more.
Traffic Light System
The National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines use a traffic light system to categorise food and drinks according to their nutritional value and levels of energy, saturated fat, fibre, sugar and salt.
- GREEN foods and drinks are the best choices. These foods and drinks offer a wide range of nutrients and are generally low in saturated fat, sugar and salt. GREEN items should represent more than 50 per cent of the menu.
- AMBER foods and drinks should be selected carefully. They should not dominate the food and drink choices displayed or promoted. AMBER foods and drinks contribute some valuable nutrients, but contain moderate amounts of saturated fat, sugar and/or salt and may be low in fibre. AMBER foods and drinks may contribute to excess energy intake (kilojoules) if consumed in large quantities.
- RED foods and drinks should not be provided or sold in schools. RED foods and drinks are low in nutritional value and fibre and may be high in saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt. RED foods and drinks may also provide excess energy (kilojoules).
- Go for Green - a 'how to' guide for using the traffic light system and meeting ACT school food & drink policies
To learn how to implement the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines in your canteen, come along to our next Canteen Menu Workshop.
For more information about how the NHSCG applies to the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015, click here to learn about our Healthy Food and Drink in Schools Workshops.