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Amber Food and Drink Items Fact Sheet

In accordance with the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015, the provision and sale of all food and drinks in ACT public schools must meet the National Healthy School Canteens: Guidelines for healthy foods and drinks supplied in school canteens 2013 (NHSCG). Under the NHSCG Amber category foods and drinks have some valuable nutrients but contain considerable amounts of saturated fat, added sugar and/or added salt. They can contribute to excess energy (kilojoules) intake. Do not let these foods dominate the menu or displays and avoid large serving sizes.

Select sometimes

Portion size and nutrient criteria are used to define Amber foods and drinks and to distinguish them from Red foods and drinks. The criteria take into consideration the saturated fat, sodium (salt), fibre and kilojoule profile of the food, and apply to either a serve size or per 100 grams depending on the category of food.

Amber food examples – select carefully


Full fat milk and soy drinks, plain and flavoured

  • May contain intense (artificial) sweeteners.
  • Suggested 375 mL serve size or less (except coffee-style milk drinks).
  • Coffee-style milk drinks (including flavoured) may be sold in secondary school (maximum 375mL serve size).

Fruit/vegetable juice

  • At least 99% fruit/vegetable juice, including sparkling varieties,
  • no added sugar (maximum serve size 250mL serve size).
Breakfast cerealsHigher in added sugar and lower in fibre. 
Yoghurt, custard
and cheese
(including soy

Full fat cheese without added confectionery*. Full fat plain or fruit yoghurt and custard without added confectionery*.

  • May contain intense (artificial) sweeteners.
Dried fruit, fruit
All types. Fruit leathers must be 100% fruit. Keep the serve size small. 
Fruit ice blocks,
fruit jelly desserts,
ice crushes and

At least 99% fruit juice and no added sugar.

  • Ice slushies and fruit jellies (maximum 200ml serve size).
  • Fruit ice blocks (maximum 125mL serve size).
Meat products
and alternatives
Burgers, patties, strips, balls, nuggets, sausages, frankfurts, saveloys (crumbed and not crumbed), stews, casseroles and curries.
Lean processed luncheon meats, fritz, devon, chicken loaf, free-flow chicken, cured meats ( for example: ham, bacon), chicken drumsticks and wings. 
Savoury hot
food items
Savoury pastries, filled breads, pasta dishes, pizzas, oven baked potato products, dim sims, spring rolls, rice and noodle dishes. 
Sweet and savoury
snack foods
Baked snack biscuits, breakfast bars, rice/corn crackers and cakes, crispbreads, fruit filled bars, flavoured popcorn, muesli bars, nut** and seed bars, sweet and savoury biscuits. 
Un-iced cakes, muffins
and sweet pastries
Some un-iced cakes and muffins that are small in serve size or have been modified to reduce the amount of saturated fat and/or sugar or with added fibre. 
Icecreams, milk based
ices and dairy desserts

Low or reduced fat icecreams (not chocolate coated), milk based ices, custards and dairy desserts.

  • Milk must be listed as the first ingredient.
Fats and oilsChoose polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils and spreads and use sparingly (for example: sunflower, safflower, corn, soya bean, olive, canola). 
Spreads, dips, relishes Nut** spreads, fish/chicken/meat paste, yeast spreads, dips, salsa,

* Confectionery includes; boiled lollies, carob, chocolate (including choc chips and chocolate-coating), chocolate spreads eg Nutella®, cough lollies, 100s and 1000s, juice jellies, icing, liquorice, soft lollies, yoghurt or carob-coating.

** Be aware of any school policies for the management of food allergies and anaphylaxis.

Acknowledgement: National Healthy School Canteens: Guidelines for health foods and drinks supplied in school canteens, updated 2013.

The NHSCG has detailed information to distinguish between Amber and Red items and Amber and Green items. Refer to the NHSCG resources at:

A User Guide, specifically for the ACT, will provide a step by step guide to understand and apply the NHSCG. This resource is being developed by ACT Health in consultation with school users and will be available in term 2, 2015. For updated information go to

Related Fact sheets

Amber Food and Drink Items fact sheet pdf print version PDF File (347kb)