As you know we have been busy providing our school community with the many facets of the new Revised Healthy Canteen Strategy. Working with our Canteen Supervisors, Leanne and Sandy, we are trying to make our Canteen totally compliant with the new guidelines. In our final instalment, we look at the second and third elements of the new Strategy…
The Health Star Rating (HSR)
An integral part of the Strategy is the introduction of the HSR system that was introduced by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. The HSR was introduced on a voluntary basis in June 2014.
The Health Star Rating (HSR) system is a quick and easy way to compare the nutrient content of packaged foods. It scores the overall nutritional content of packaged foods and rates them from ½ a star to 5 stars. The more stars, the healthier the choice.
If the canteen decides to use pre-packaged foods (and this can only apply to Occasional food and drinks representing 25% of the menu) than that food must have a HSR of 3.5 stars or more to be sold in school canteens in addition to Everyday food.
So until we can source meat pies, sausage rolls etc., these staples of the School Canteen lunch order will be removed (:() .
One problem that is facing all School Canteens is that the food industry itself is lagging behind in ensuring that manufacturers of prepackaged foods etc., are labelling their products with the HSR. This is a problem that is further compounded by the regional locality of schools.
To understand more about the HSR visit http://healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/Content/About-health-stars
So not only does our School Canteen Menu need to have items categorised as Everyday and/or Occasional Foods and have all occasional foods rated with a HSR above 3.5 stars, it must also be portion controlled!
Anyone who has had to adhere to a diet will know and understand the importance of portion control for weight loss and so it applies here. Care needs to be taken to avoid serving large portions of all OCCASIONAL foods and some EVERYDAY foods (flavoured milk, juices and hot meals). All School Canteens have access to a Menu Ready Reckoner to check the maximum portion size limits for menu items and ingredients.
If we feel that a small serving wouldn’t satisfy the hunger of a student, then the foods should be combined with a salad, bread roll, fruit or milk. For example, if we were to serve a frittata which has a maximum portion size of 250 grams, we would also serve it with a salad to provide a balanced meal.
Our new Terms 2 & 3 Winter Meal will be released on 31 March 2017 and will commence from Term 2. There are some major changes to the menu and there has been some concessions but you will see a vastly different menu. The menu may change as we strive to meet the new requirements as we move towards being compliant with the Strategy.
We look forward to receiving your feedback on the new Menu and we hope you now have an understanding of the why and wherefores of the changes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to give feedback – complimentary or otherwise. We really only want the best for a healthy school community and we believe our Canteen can provide this to you.
Contact the P &C, our Canteen Supervisors or the School if you require any further clarification. Here’s to our Healthy School!