Why Food Matters At School

Why did we change the canteen menu?

From the government Healthy Kids website…

The Fresh Tastes @ School NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy came into effect at the start of the 2005 school year. Since then, it has been mandatory for all public schools in the state.

The initiative is all about giving students across NSW a taste for healthy foods and encouraging them to make healthier food choices.

It heralds a move beyond providing nutrition guidelines for school canteens to a government-endorsed approach to the type of food and drinks that can and can’t be sold in NSW Government school canteens. A range of practical resources have been developed to support schools to implement a Fresh Tastes @ School canteen.

What did we use to guide our decisions on what food to offer?



The Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in a nutshell:

  • Children and adolescents need sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally.
  • Growth should be checked regularly for young children.
  • Physical activity is important for all children and adolescents.
  • Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods.
  • Children and adolescents should be encouraged to:
    • Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits.
    • Eat plenty of cereals, (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain.
    • Include lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives.
    • Include milks, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives. Reduced fat milks are not suitable for young children under 2 years old, because of their energy needs, but reduced fat varieties should be encouraged for older children and adolescents.
    • Choose water as a drink.
  • and care should be taken to:
    • Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake. Low fat diets are not suitable for infants.
    • Choose foods low in salt.
    • Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars.

Info for Parents


Click here to download the government’s Food Matters @ School – Information for Parents Flyer as a handy reference guide.

Where can I find out more?

Canteen Menu Planning Guide thumb_Page_01

Canteen Menu Planning Guide

This book outlines:

  • the role of the canteen in schools
  • Australian dietary guidelines for children and adolescents
  • serving sizes
  • explanations for ‘Green’, ‘Amber’ and ‘Red’ foods
  • nutritional information
  • resources

Healthy Kids

Click here to visit the Healthy Kids Association website for lunchbox ideas and advice.