Developing a plan to prepare for school closures

In anticipation of school closures likely commencing this week (at least in NSW, potentially in ACT), Healthy Kids Association is issuing this urgent advice to school canteen operators.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this advice has been prepared on the assumption that schools will be closed from Tuesday 24th March, based on current media speculation. Should this day change, actions based on the below advice should be adjusted accordingly.

There are a number of things for canteens to consider and plan for:

1. How you will handle ordering (when closing and on return)

2. How you will handle food wastage

3. Food storage during periods of extended closure

4. Bill payments

5. Staff rostering

While some of these actions can be handled after schools close down, we are advising canteens to take action immediately to reduce costs and food wastage by focusing on using or storing food asap. 

  • It is not advisable to order any more stock, you should cancel any current stock orders, and run down the stock that you do have on Monday
  • We recommend having a special price on products you have a lot of, or recipes you still have many ingredients for on your last day of school
  • Ask the school staff and school community to support the canteen by buying from you on the last day before the canteen closes
  • Use up ingredients by making family-sized portions of meals, and sell them to staff or the school community to take home. Promote this on social media or in the school communications app
  • You could also try to sell any leftover produce in a market-style fashion at school pickup

It’s time to freeze!

If you have the freezer space, freezing is a fantastic way to preserve foods while the canteen is closed. Here is our advice on storing and using individual items you may have leftover:


  • Place in container or individually wrap and freeze

Plain and flavoured milk: 

  • Pour flavoured milk into cups, put in a popsicle stick and freeze – these can be sold as frozen milky ice blocks when the canteen reopens. Alternatively, they can be frozen without the sticks and served with a spoon.
  • Freeze plain or flavoured milk in individual portions such as in ice cube trays, muffin pans, snap lock bags or cups to be used later in milkshakes or smoothies.
  • For more ideas, read the “Frozen milk – can you sell it?” blogpost on the HKA website.


  • Like milk, yoghurt (plain or flavoured), can be frozen and sold as a frozen snack when the canteen reopens. Frozen yoghurt can also be used in smoothies and milkshakes.

Fresh produce (fruit and vegetables): 

  • Wash, chop and freeze in containers or sandwich bags
  • Vegetables that freeze well include broccoli, capsicum, onion, corn, asparagus, spinach
  • Fruits that freeze well include grapes, pineapple, berries, banana, mango, kiwi fruit, stone fruit, oranges


  • Make jaffles (e.g. egg and ham jaffles) and freeze them in a large container or individual sandwich bags
  • Make bread crumbs – lay slices of bread in 120°C oven for 20-30 mins then blend in food processer. Once they have cooled, freeze them in an air-tight container or snap lock bag


  • Just about any hot meal can be frozen and defrosted to be sold once the canteen re-opens. Bulk-cook main meals that incorporate the ingredients that you have, separate into portion controlled containers and freeze.


  • Seal in air-tight containers and freeze
  • Use as an ingredient on the last day of school

Freezer-friendly recipes and what they use:

  • Mango Frozen Yoghurt: Yoghurt, mango
  • Yoghurt Pops: Yoghurt, fresh fruit
  • Fruit ice blocks: Fruit juice, fresh fruit
  • Berry frozen yoghurt: Yoghurt, Fruit
  • Banana and Passionfruit frozen yoghurt: Yoghurt, passionfruit, banana
  • Banana pops: Bananas, yoghurt

NOTE: Ensure when freezing anything that it is clearly labelled and dated.

Our team will continue to review the situation and offer additional advice as announcements unfold.

Stay safe and well,
The Healthy Kids team