Canteen Fresh

Canteen Fresh, as part of ACT Health’s Fresh Tastes program, is the new look name for healthy canteen services previously known as Healthy Food@School. Fresh Tastes encompasses a whole of school approach to create a healthy food and drink culture, of which canteens play an important part.

In partnership with the ACT Health, Nutrition Australia ACT (NA ACT) is working with school canteens to implement the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines. All Canteen Fresh services are provided free of charge to all ACT schools.

National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines

The National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines (NHSCG) were launched in March 2011. The guidelines use a traffic light system to categorise foods sold at school canteens into GREEN, AMBER or RED foods according to their nutritional value. Foods and drinks categorised as GREEN or AMBER provide valuable nutrients and are suitable for sale in school canteens.

In 2012, the ACT Government Education and Training Directorate revised the School Canteen PolicyThe policy states that “canteen operators are encouraged to become Healthy School Canteen Providers”, with the support of the school principal and community. The policy also states that in order to become a Healthy School Canteen Provider, foods and beverages sold must align with the NHSCG.

Menu assessments

NA ACT provides individualised menu assessments for all ACT school canteens. Canteen menus are assessed against the NHSCG with a detailed report of recommendations provided to help GREEN the canteen menu. All canteen menus receive a 12 month review after their initial menu assessment to identify changes and provide ongoing support. Canteens that have successfully implemented the NHSCG (i.e. removed all RED items from the menu) receive a "Canteen Menu Award".

Nutrition advisory service

The nutrition advisory and support service is available free of charge to all schools within the ACT who are in the process of, or considering, implementing the NHSCG. This service includes:

  • ongoing phone and email support to address any concerns the school canteen has in making the change to go GREEN
  • optional site visit to the school canteen
  • product clarification
  • marketing and promotion ideas
  • practical suggestions for improving the nutrition of food and beverages offered, and much more!

Training for canteens


All ACT registered food businesses are required to have a food safety supervisor by October 1 2013. NAQ Nutrition Training's canteen managers course meets the requirements of Nationally Recognised Training and has been especially developed to meet the needs of staff working in school canteens.

In addition to achieving the Food Safety Supervisor qualification, this course also offers small business management principles and menu planning aligning with the NHSCG.

As an additional bonus to this course, a Chartered Accountant from Duesburys Nexia delivers a component on small business management principles (this component is not accredited training).

Upon successful completion of the course, students will achieve a Statement of Attainment for the following  units of competency.

  • SITXFSA201          Participate in safe food handling practices

  • SITXFSA101          Use hygienic practices for food safety

Resources for canteens

Newsletters & fact sheets

Canteen Fresh e-newsletter is distributed monthly to ACT school canteens and P&C associations. The e-newsletter contains helpful tips to assist school canteens to implement the NHSCG, including marketing strategies, Q&A section, information about new products and resources, and upcoming training events. 

Green Card Challenge

In Term 2, 2013 NA ACT launched the GREEN Card Challenge sales incentive kit for school canteens. The GREEN Card Challenge has been developed to:

  • reward students who make healthy food and drink choices at the canteen 
  • increase the sale of GREEN canteen items

?The GREEN Card Challenge sales incentive kit is available free for all ACT schools. To participate, contact NA ACT.

Canteen Companion

NA ACT developed the Canteen Companion to assist schools in implementing the NHSCG. The Canteen Companion resource kit includes a folder filled with simple recipes, each with a corresponding picture that can be displayed on the accompanying Point of Sale Poster. Each recipe was carefully chosen and developed by Accredited Practising Dietitians and Nutritionists with experience in working with school canteens.

NA ACT recognises that each school canteen is unique in regards to facilities, staff, volunteers and students. Canteen Companion is designed to work within your canteen’s capacity. Canteen Companion is available free of charge to schools in the ACT who are actively implementing the NHSCG.


For further information regarding the services offered by NA ACT under the Fresh Tastes - Canteen Fresh project contact us on 02 6162 2583 or email             



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