Drinks in the canteen

When it comes to drinks in the canteen, at Healthy Kids we believe that reduced-fat plain milk and water should be a child’s first choice of beverage. They are the healthiest and most nutritious options available and should be the main beverages distributed in a canteen.


In the ACT, the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines determine what can and cannot be sold. It states that water and reduced fat milk (plain and flavoured) are GREEN. Full fat milk (plain and flavoured) as well as vegetable and fruit juices are AMBER. In the ACT, juices must be at least 99% fruit juice with no added sugar, in a serve size of 250ml of less, and with no intense (artificial) sweeteners.

Coffee milk drinks (flavoured or caffeinated) should not be sold in primary school and should be limited to a serve size of 375ml in secondary schools.

Soft drinks, iced teas, cordials, sports waters/drinks, flavoured mineral waters, energy drinks and sweetened waters are ALL RED and in ACT.


In NSW, the Fresh Tastes @ School strategy provides guidance to canteens on what drinks should and should not be sold. It is important to note that under Fresh Taste @ School, any drink that does not fit into the GREEN or AMBER categories is BANNED. That means these drinks CANNOT be sold in school canteens or provided to students at any time during the year, that includes athletics carnivals, fetes, discos, excursions or swimming carnivals.

This BAN is stated in the Sugar Sweetened Drink Ban for NSW Schools policy document. As for other drinks, here’s what you need to know about what drinks you can and can’t sell in a school canteen.


Water is GREEN and is the best choice for children. It should be available to children free of charge by the use of bubblers or water bottle refill stations. The canteen can also choose to sell bottles of water.


Reduced fat, plain and flavoured milk (including soy) is GREEN, while full fat is AMBER. Milk FT@S

JUICES (including Slushies)

If a drink contains less than 99% fruit juice it is categorised under the Sugar Sweetened Drinks & Ices category and needs to be compared against that criteria.

A juice with a greater than 300mL serve size is not RED, however it is not recommended due to the amount of energy (kilojoules) and sugar it contains.



This includes soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, flavoured mineral waters, sports drinks, cordials, iced teas, sweetened waters, sports waters and flavoured crushed ice drinks. Whether or not the drink is banned depends on the amount of kilojoules and sodium in the drinks.

sugar sweetened