Occasional food and drinks list

Occasional foods are mostly high in saturated fat, sugars and/or salt and often have little nutritional value. They are not needed as part of a healthy diet and should only be enjoyed sometimes and in small amounts.

These foods and drinks are always Occasional – even when you make them yourself in the canteen using an approved recipe and ingredients e.g. a carrot cake made with Everyday ingredients and items from the 'Essentials shopping list' is still an Occasional food.


  • limit Occasional foods and drinks to no more than ¼ of your menu
  • select the healthiest version of Occasional foods and drinks selecting with a Health Star Rating (HSR) of 3.5 Stars or above
  • use the Healthy Food Finder to find HSR for foods and drinks
  • keep to the recommended portion sizes
  • sugary drinks should not be sold in NSW schools

Use the Healthy Food Finder to find Occasional foods with a Health Star Rating of 3.5 and above

  • pies
  • sausage rolls
  • ice-cream
  • muesli bars
  • potato wedges
  • crumbed/coated chicken
  • salami
  • salty snacks
  • chips
  • pretzels

These Occasional foods rarely have a HSR of 3.5 and above

  • cakes
  • sweet biscuits
  • pastries
  • chocolate
  • confectionery

Sugary drinks are those with any types of sugar added to them, except milk

These include drinks sweetened with regular sugar (sucrose), fructose, glucose, honey/syrup and fruit juice concentrates. Examples are:

  • soft drinks
  • iced tea
  • flavoured mineral water
  • sports waters/drinks.
  • energy drinks
  • fruit drinks containing less than 99% fruit/vegetable juice
  • slushies
  • cordials with added sugar

Read our factsheet on Sugary drinks for more information.

Caffeinated drinks should not be sold in primary schools because caffeine is not recommended for children

They include:

  • coffees (latte/cappuccino/mochas)
  • iced coffee flavoured milks
  • cola or other caffeinated soft drinks (including diet soft drink)
  • energy drinks

Read our factsheet on Caffeinated drinks for more information.

Energy drinks should not to be sold in primary or secondary schools.

Examples of Occasional food and drinks

Hot potato products and savoury pastries (do not deep-fry)
  • hot chips, wedges, gems, hash browns and scallops
  • pies, sausage rolls, spring rolls and samosas
Savoury breads and instant noodles
  • garlic bread
  • cheese scrolls
  • hot noodle cups
Meat products
  • crumbed and coated chicken, fish, beef, seafood and seafood extender
  • processed meats – bacon, corned beef, pastrami, devon, salami and sausages
  • bacon used in Occasional foods e.g. creamy sauce pasta, quiche lorraine
Cakes, muffins, sweet pastries and biscuits; chocolate and confectionery
  • sweet pastries and breads, danishes, croissants, scrolls, waffles, baklava and doughnuts
  • cakes, slices and muffins
  • sweet biscuits – plain, coated, iced or filled with chocolate, cream, jam or icing
Snacks: flavoured savoury biscuits, savoury and sweet snack foods
  • potato or corn chips/crisps/puffs/tubes
  • soy snacks, flavoured rice snacks, pretzels
  • flavoured savoury biscuits
  • wasabi peas, roasted chickpeas, roasted fava beans
  • flavoured popcorn
  • muesli bars
Desserts and ice-creams
  • rice pudding, mousse, cheesecake.
  • ice-cream, frozen yoghurt
  • diet soft drinks (caffeinated soft drinks should not be sold in primary schools) – no HSR to be applied to diet soft drinks
  • milkshakes/smoothies made with ice-cream

Foods made with any of the above items are Occasional items.

Examples of Occasional meals

  • crumbed chicken tenders and lettuce sandwich
  • salami and cheese sandwich
  • tempura prawn sushi roll
  • beef and bacon burger
  • smoothie with milk, banana and ice-cream
  • pepperoni pizza
  • nachos with beans/mince, salsa, etc

Find out more

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