A new Healthy School Canteens Strategy replaces the current “traffic light” system in schools, which experts have found to be overly complex and too narrow in its consideration of nutrition. The new strategy offers simpler, easier to understand menus consistent with the latest Australian Dietary Guidelines.
Under the Healthy School Canteens Strategy:
- fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, salads, pasta, and stir fries will make up at least 75 per cent of the menu
- occasional foods, which will make up the remaining 25 per cent, will need to have a Health Star Rating of 3.5 stars or higher.
- pies, sausage rolls and pizzas that are above the 3.5 star rating can be available at all times.
Cake stalls or fundraising initiatives will not be affected by the changes.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that providing healthier options in school canteens was just one of the ways the NSW Government could move towards achieving its priority target to reduce childhood obesity by five per cent by 2025.
“Obesity has significant health impacts for children with around one in five NSW children between the ages of five and 16 being overweight or obese," Ms Berejiklian said.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said the new strategy would reassure parents that food sold in school canteens is healthy for their children.
“This is a simpler, easier-to-understand approach that is consistent with Federal Government guidelines on healthy food.”
The strategy will be phased in over three years so that schools and the food industry have time to adjust.