Making amber foods healthier

Tub of healthy snacks

Foods and drinks in the Select Carefully (amber) category contain some valuable nutrients, but may also include unhealthy ingredients. They are mainly processed foods that contain high fat, sugar or salt added.

Schools are encouraged to limit the availability of these foods. Design your canteen to actively promote Everyday (green) category foods and drinks.

Checklist for Select Carefully foods

  • Reduce the number of these foods on the canteen menu (aim for less than 50%).
  • Reduce the serving sizes.
  • Select healthier choices within this category.
  • Select choices of these foods that contain fruits and/or vegetables or serve with fruits and/or vegetables.

With limited equipment and preparation time, it can sometimes be challenging to provide tasty, nutritious Everyday meals. Jazz up your Select Carefully commercial ‘heat and serve’ foods with these simple ideas:

Create a vegetable version

  • Swap traditional lasagne with vegetable lasagne.
  • Swap meat-based pizzas with vegetarian pizzas.
  • Try Select Carefully vegetarian fried rice.
  • Try Select Carefully sausage rolls or pies with added vegetables.
  • Swap steamed dim sims with oven-baked vegetable spring rolls.

Meal deals

Serve all hot foods with a small side salad or as a meal deal, coupled with a corn on the cob or a piece of fruit.

Boost it with vegetables

  • Add frozen diced vegetables to Select Carefully commercial pasta meals before heating.
  • Top Select Carefully commercial pizzas with extra vegetables before cooking.

Amber recipe ideas

Noodle box

Instant noodle box (‘Oodles of Noodles’)

Cook cakes of instant noodles with diced frozen vegetables. Strain, add diced lean ham and some sweet soy sauce. Stir through and reheat.

Serve in noodle boxes or foam cups.

Warm chicken salad

Place chicken strips or four to five oven-baked nuggets on top of a bed of salad or vegetables in a foil or plastic tray and drizzle with reduced fat mayonnaise or dressing.

Winter warmersWinter warmer

Serve three to four oven baked chicken nuggets or meat balls, two Potato Smilies (TM), a corn on the cob and a couple of pieces of broccoli or other green vegetables in a foil container (which can be kept warm in a pie warmer).


Important information for menu planning:

  • Where possible choose reduced fat, reduced salt, and/or no added sugar varieties of products.
  • When selecting commercially made food and drink products, remember to check their nutrition information panel against the ‘Nutrient criteria for occasionally foods’ table in the Healthy Canteen Kit - Food Planner

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