Why are full-fat dairy foods AMBER and not GREEN?
Dairy foods are foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese. These foods are high in protein and calcium, which are good for building strong bones and teeth. Full-fat and reduced-fat dairy foods have similar amounts of protein and calcium. Full-fat dairy foods have more energy (kilojoules) and saturated fat which we need to eat less of. This is why the Australian Dietary Guidelines say children over the age of 2 years should mostly eat reduced-fat dairy foods. In your school canteen, full-fat dairy foods are AMBER and reduced-fat dairy foods are GREEN.
Why is flavoured milk OK to sell in my canteen?
Lots of children and young people don’t eat enough dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese. These foods are high in protein and calcium, which are good for building strong bones and teeth. Flavoured milk can be a good way for students who don’t like plain milk to get some calcium in their diet. There are about three teaspoons of added sugar in a glass of flavoured milk. This is a lot less sugar than in other sweet drinks like cordial and soft drink.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines say that plain milk is a better choice than flavoured milk, so try to have plain milk on your menu as well. In your school canteen, full-fat flavoured milk is AMBER and reduced-fat flavoured milk is GREEN. Try to keep milk drinks to small portions (less than 375mL). If students fill up on big milk drinks they won’t have room for other healthy foods.
What is the problem with selling a few lollies?
We only run our canteen once a week and see it as a real treat for the students.
You may think of lollies, chocolate, chips and soft drink as a treat that kids can have occasionally. Many Australian children and young people eat these foods every day. In fact ‘occasional’ foods make up over a third of the average Australian child’s diet. Even if your canteen only opens once a week, it’s likely that students are eating lollies or other ‘occasional’ foods and drinks much more often.
In your canteen, lollies and other ‘occasional’ food and drinks are RED items. These foods and drinks are not recommended for sale in school canteens because they are high in energy (kilojoules), fat, sugar and/or salt and do not have any goodness.
Your canteen can still be a treat for students even without lollies and soft drinks. Students love being able to buy food and drinks that can’t be packed in a lunchbox – like a warm soup in winter or frozen fruit pieces in summer.
Why is white bread GREEN?
All types of bread are ‘everyday’ foods. They are high in carbohydrates which give kids the energy to play and learn. Bread is also a good source of important vitamins and minerals. The Australian Dietary Guidelines say that wholemeal and wholegrain bread are the best choices because they have more fibre. Fibre is good for keeping your bowels healthy and helping kids feel full for longer. In your canteen all different types of bread are GREEN. Having different types of bread on your menu adds interest and gives students a chance to try something new.
Why is fruit juice AMBER and not GREEN?
Fruit juice is high in natural sugar and drinking a lot of fruit juice can damage your teeth. Juice doesn’t have as much fibre as a piece of fresh fruit, so you can drink a lot without feeling full and get more energy than you need. The Australian Dietary Guidelines say to drink fruit juice only occasionally and to keep it to a small glass. In your canteen, 99% fruit juice (with no added sugar) is AMBER. It is better for students to eat fresh, canned (in natural juice) or frozen fruit instead of drinking juice.
What sized fruit juice can I sell in my canteen?
If you would like to put fruit juice on your canteen menu, it must be at least 99% fruit juice, with no added sugar. The size of juice that you can sell depends on whether you are a primary school or a high school, and your level of canteen accreditation.
All primary schools can sell fruit juice up to 250mL in size and this would be AMBER.
High schools can sell fruit juice up to 350mL in size and this would be AMBER.
If your canteen has fruit juice that is less than 99% fruit or bigger than the sizes listed above, it is a RED product.
Why do the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines focus on energy, saturated fat, sodium and dietary fibre?
In Tasmania, the National Healthy School Canteen guidelines are used to decide which food and drinks are best to sell in your canteen. The guidelines look at the amount of energy, saturated fat, sodium (salt) and fibre in food. Foods are healthier if they are lower in energy, saturated fat and sodium, and higher in fibre.
The guidelines use the traffic light colours of GREEN, AMBER and RED to group food and drinks. In your canteen it is best to have lots of GREEN foods. These are everyday foods, which are low in energy, saturated fat and sodium and have other useful nutrients like fibre or calcium. It is okay to have a few AMBER foods on your menu. These foods have some valuable nutrients, but may be too high in energy, saturated fat or sodium to be GREEN. It is best to keep RED foods off your menu. These foods are high in energy, saturated fat or sodium.
Why do the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines not include sugar as part of their criteria?
The guidelines do not include sugar as part of their criteria because this is considered for some foods if the energy is below a certain level. For example foods such as muffins, biscuits, ice creams and dairy desserts contain added sugar, but they also have some valuable nutrients such as calcium or fibre. These foods can be AMBER if they are below a certain energy (kilojoule) level, which means the amount of sugar in them can’t be too high. If the amount of sugar or fat in these foods is too high, they become too high in energy and are RED. Other foods that have a lot of sugar and no other valuable nutrients to keep us healthy are RED. This includes foods like lollies, soft drinks, sports drinks, icy poles and jelly. If we eat too much or too many of these ‘occasional’ foods, it can be hard to stay healthy and can increase our chances of getting sick.