SA Right Bite

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 1.35.34 PMThe Right Bite strategy outlines the type of food and drinks permitted for sale through canteens in SA schools. This strategy helps schools to select menu items that promote healthy eating and good nutrition for students.

Right Bite identifies that any school programs and activities relating to or involving food and drink including camps, breakfast clubs, excursions, fundraising, celebrations and sports days should promote healthy eating.

All SA Government schools must comply with the Right Bite strategy. Catholic and independent schools are strongly encouraged to implement Right Bite in their school environments.

Choosing foods that fit Right Bite

The Right Bite Food and Drink Spectrum uses a colour spectrum that extends from GREEN to AMBER to RED. It shows where food and drink fist according to their nutritional value.

GREEN foods (every day) are the best everyday choices for schools and they should make up the majority of your canteen menu. These foods are excellent sources of nutrients and typically reflect the five food groups in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, including fruit, vegetables, lean meats, grains and dairy.

AMBER foods (select carefully) should be limited in school canteens. These items are mainly processed foods that have had some fat, sugar or salt added to them. Select these foods carefully when putting the menu together and avoid larger serve sizes.

RED foods (occasionally) are not to be sold from canteens or vending machines in schools. These foods are not essential for a healthy diet because they are typically high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars and salt and can contribute excess energy.

Schools should limit the availability of RED category foods to no more than two whole school occasions per term, such as carnivals or fetes (not in the canteen or vending machines).

Examples of GREEN, AMBER and RED foods

GREENFruit (fresh, dried and canned in natural juice), legumes (e.g. chickpeas and baked beans) and vegetables

Bread, plain rice, pasta and noodles

Whole grain breakfast cereals

Reduced fat dairy foods (milks, yoghurts, cheeses and custard)

Lean meat, poultry, fish and egg

Unsalted plain and mixed nuts*

AMBERFull fat dairy foods

Processed meats (ham, chicken roll, corned beef, fritz)

Margarine, mayonnaise, dressings and oil

Spreads, sauces and gravy

Some fruit juices (99% fruit juice and 250ml or less)
REDSoft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured mineral waters, sports waters, cordials, iced tea and fruit drinks

Drinks containing caffeine or guarana (e.g. energy drinks or coffee milk)

Artificially sweetened food and drink - all types

Confectionery - all types

Deep fried foods - all types

Icy poles and ice crushes (all types) unless 99% or ore fruit juice and 250ml or less)

*Check your school’s policy regarding the use of products containing nuts.

Menu planning

The Right Bite Ready Reckoner is helpful to choose GREEN foods for your menu and decipher which foods are AMBER to select carefully.

It is important that GREEN foods dominate the menu every day:

  • GREEN foods should ideally represent more than 50% of the menu
  • AMBER foods should be restricted to less than 50% of the menu
  • No RED foods.


Combine AMBER with GREEN

AMBER foods can be made healthier by partnering them with GREEN foods:

  • Try adding a salad (e.g. a slice of tomato or some carrot) to create healthier sandwiches and burgers.
  • Use reduced-fat dairy options for any cheese, milk or yoghurt products being used in homemade foods. 

Serve size

Always check the serve size of any product. Consuming food and drink in larger serve sizes makes it easier to consume excess energy (kilojoules). Select moderate serve sizes instead.

AMBER or RED – how do you tell?

A prepackaged food may be either AMBER or RED depending on the size, kilojoule (energy) content, fibre and saturated fat levels of the product. Right Bite has developed The (Occasionally) RED Category Nutrient Criteria Table to help schools determine whether the product is allowed to be sold in the canteen.

When deciding if a product is suitable to supply in your school, compare the nutrition information panel on the food package to the RED category nutrient criteria tables. Food products that meet the criteria are considered AMBER and may be selected carefully to include on the menu. If they don’t meet the criteria, it is considered a RED food and should not be on the regular canteen menu.

Types of foods that may fall into the AMBER or RED category:

Hot food:

  • Savoury pastries – pies, pasties and sausage rolls
  • Commercial pasta, pizzas and oven baked potato products
  • Commercial dim sims, spring rolls, fried rice and noodles
  • Crumbed and coated foods (e.g. chicken products), frankfurters and sausages

Snack food:

  • Snack food bars and sweet biscuits
  • Savoury snack foods and biscuits
  • Cakes, muffins and sweet pastries
  • Ice creams, milk-based ice confections and dairy desserts

Need help?

Healthy Kids is here to help. Members of Healthy Kids can access a range of support options to help them keep in line with Right Bite guidelines as well as promote healthier options in schools. Support includes canteen recipes, record keeping templates, menu reviews and advice from our team of nutritionists and dietitians.

Our membership benefits service schools, leasees of canteens, health professionals, individuals and other affiliates. Contact us to find out more.