Balancing Your Menu

Calculating your menu balance involves counting all the Everyday and Occasional foods and drinks available in your school canteen. This includes items listed on the menu, displayed on the counter top and ordered online.

A healthy school canteen menu needs to be made up of at least 75% Everyday foods and drinks, and no more than 25% Occasional foods and drinks.

While Occasional foods and drinks can appear on your menu each day, they cannot make up more than 25% of the menu.


  • All flavours/varieties and portion sizes available for each item
  • Items offered only at recess and/or lunch
  • Extras available for sandwiches, rolls, wraps and salads. All vegetable extras (excluding avocado) receive 1 count in total, while other extras such as cheese, egg, chicken, tuna or avocado receive 1 count each
  • Breakfast items that are offered at recess and/or lunch
  • Gluten-free and other special dietary items that are listed on the menu and offered to all students
  • Count each day separately if you have different items on different days of the week. Your menu must consist of at least 75% Everyday items each day


  • Sauces and condiments such as tomato sauce or mayonnaise
  • ‘Toasted’ option for sandwiches or wraps which are already listed on the menu
  • Repeated items: for example garlic bread offered as a snack and in a meal deal is only counted once
  • Breakfast items if they are only offered at breakfast time
  • Gluten-free and other special dietary items that are not listed on the menu and are only offered to students who require them


  • Replace some Occasional items with Everyday items
  • Remove less popular Occasional foods and drinks
  • Reduce the number of flavours/varieties of Occasional items such as chips and frozen snacks
  • Increase the number of flavours/varieties of Everyday items

For an example menu count, refer to page 17 of the Food and Drink Criteria Booklet.