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Resources for Canteens Fact Sheet

The ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015 supports school canteens to implement the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines 2013 and provides a whole school framework for supporting students' health and wellbeing.

What hasn't changed for school canteens?

ACT Public School canteens are already implementing the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines (NHSCG). These Guidelines are based on a traffic light system to assess foods and drinks that are the best choice (Green), to be selected carefully (Amber), and not at all (Red).

Implementing the NHSCG remains the main priority for ACT public school canteens.

What is different for school canteens?

The new ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015 replaces the ACT School Canteens Policy 2012 and the ACT School Canteens Policy Implementation Procedures. For private canteen operators the new policy introduces the use of the standard ACT Licence Agreement 2012 and the ACT Disclosure Statement Leases (Commercial and Retail) 2001. For Parents and Citizens (P&C) canteen operators there is a single P&C Operated Canteens Canteen Service Deed.

These legal documents replace the informal agreements covered in detail in the ACT School Canteens Policy Implementation Procedures and streamline the process for schools. The new Policy requirement for regular menu reviews will be built into the standard Licence Agreement. This provision is designed to assist school canteens to implement the NHSCG.

For more detail about the new contractual arrangements see the fact sheet Canteen Contracts.

The main change arising from the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015 is to extend the application of the NHSCG to the broader school environment.

Support for school canteens

Providing a range of healthy options requires careful planning, creative and practical ideas, good marketing and promotion, and strong networking and partnerships. The following resources and services work together to provide training and support for ACT school canteens to implement the NHSCG.

National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines 2013

A range of resources to support canteens to implement the NHSCG, including a Quick Reference Guide, posters and calculators, are available at:

User Guide to the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines

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

Fresh Tastes: healthy food at school

Fresh Tastes is a free, optional service available to any school in the ACT to help embed a culture of healthy food and drinks. Schools can access resources, training, advice and assistance to implement the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015 and the NHSCG in their school canteen. ACT schools are invited to get involved by contacting Fresh Tastes. Email or visit

ACT Nutrition Support Service (Nutrition Australia ACT)

Schools are able to access support, advice, education, training and workshops to assist them to implement the NHSCG. Operated by Nutrition Australia ACT, this service also undertakes nutritional analysis of food and drinks, menu reviews and audits of food and drinks supplied in canteens. Free telephone and email advice is available. Phone (02) 6162 2583, email or visit

ACT Council of Parent and Citizens Associations

The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations have received funding from the ACT Government to deliver activities that support the sustainability of ACT public school canteens, improve business practices and increase healthy options in the school community. Phone (02) 6241 5759.

Healthy Kids Association All school canteens can access recipes and a range of resources on running a canteen from the Healthy Kids Association website. School canteens can also access excellent resources to help canteens and schools with marketing healthy foods. Healthy Kids Association members can access menu reviews, telephone advice, business advice and a Healthy Kids magazine. For more information, visit 

Find out what your customers want

Promoting healthy food and drinks

Make them look good

Have healthy choices visible and eye catching such as:

Make sure children can see them

Promote healthy choices

Attract and retain school canteen volunteers


Ideas for school lunch, snacks and recess

Regular eating times such as breakfast, morning snack, lunch, after school snack and dinner are important during childhood to help meet a child's energy and nutrient needs for growth and development. In fact, for children, eating little and often can be the best way to meet nutritional needs.

All foods – snacks and drinks, as well as meals – consumed throughout the day should make a positive contribution to the quality of a child's diet. Too often the snack foods on offer are high in fat, salt or sugar, and fruit and vegetable based snacks are unavailable or unappealing.

However, there are many alternatives and children can help to choose healthy, nutritious and attractive snacks for between meals. Smaller servings of foods and drinks suitable for lunches can also be used as snacks. Here are some additional quick and easy snack ideas.

Cold snacks

Hot snacks


References and resources

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

The ACT Government Health Policy: Healthy Food and Drink Choices 2013, ACT Government, Acknowledging - WA Department of Education Factsheets, Healthy Food and Drink Choices in Schools.

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