Step 4: Is your menu the right balance?


Step 4 of your journey to creating a successful, healthy canteen will show you how to achieve the required balance with your menu.

Schools should offer at least 75% Everyday foods and drinks that provide essential nutrients students need leaving no more than 25% of the the menu to include Occasional foods.

The first step is to remove food and drinks that do not meet the Criteria, including:

  • sugary drinks
  • packaged Occasional foods and drinks with less than 3.5 Health Stars
  • deep-fried foods
  • food and drinks that are larger than the Criteria's maximum portion sizes.

Use the Menu Ready Reckoner as a guide to replace them with:

  • Everyday food and drinks
  • Occasional food and drinks with a Health Star Rating of 3.5 stars or above
  • Freshly prepared food and drinks made with ingredients from the Essentials Shopping list ‘Buy’ column
  • Food and drinks that meet the relevant maximum portion sizes in the Criteria.

Now you can find out if your menu is the right balance using the simple method below.

Counting the menu

In Step 1, we asked you to write out everything on your current menu, including the items you place on the counter. We’ll now use this list to count each item as either Everyday or Occasional.

Things you will need:

What counts?


Count each flavour and variety of a particular item.

Example -  Three flavours of fruit juice ice blocks – apple, orange and mango, just count each flavour as an item as shown below.

  1. Apple
  2. Orange
  3. Mango

There are 3 items.

Fillings for sandwiches/wraps/rolls/toasted sandwiches or wraps

Count each type of filling. If a filling is available in sandwiches, rolls, wraps and toasted sandwiches/wraps, only count that filling type once. See the examples below.

  1. Tuna
  2. Egg
  3. Chicken
  4. Salad

There are 4 items.

Different portion sizes

Count each portion size of the same product as a separate item. For example, let’s say you sell two different sizes of plain milk, you would count each size as an item as shown below.

  1. Plain milk: 300ml
  2. Plain milk: 500ml

There are 2 items.

All-day breakfast items

Count each breakfast item if it is available all day.

Daily specials

A daily special includes any item promoted by special pricing or special availability, such as only available on certain days, or meal deals.

Count each day separately.

Please make each special an Everyday item.

Meal Deals

A Meal Deal is any bundle of food and drink used as a promotion or offered for a special price.

Only count Meal Deals if they are not already listed on the menu.

What doesn’t count?

Extras - Extras such as tomato sauce, extra cheese or salad are not counted as an item. But make sure these ingredients are from the Essentials Shopping list ‘Buy’ column.

'Doing the maths' flowchart

This simple flowchart will help you visualise the method above.

If you have any questions after completing this step, contact the Healthy Kids Support line on (02) 9876 1300 or 1300 724 850 if you are calling from outside of Sydney.

Handy links

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