The Healthiest Catholic School Canteen

Students of St Paul’s Primary School, Gateshead are enjoying a new menu after being the first Catholic School in the Hunter New England (HNE) region to successfully meet the NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy through the NSW Government’s Menu Check Service.

After seeing a kid’s health message from Good for Kids, myself and Edna Martin contacted the team at HNE Health for more information regarding the new guidelines for school canteens. We then arranged a visit with Renee from HNE Health to go over our existing menu and advise us on how we could modify it to meet the Strategy guidelines.

Our main motivation was to support our school community. Staffed by amazing volunteers, our canteen is used by many students. This means students from busy families can enjoy the convenience of recess and enjoying a lunch orders from a canteen which offers nutritious and diverse food choices at the school.

Some of our volunteers also attended a Canteen Manager's Workshop (hosted by HNE Health). This was a great way to network and gain ideas on what items could be added to the new menu.

The workshop also outlined the procedure for final approval via the Menu Check Service. The whole process of researching and changing our menu items took about a term. The final approval from NSW School Canteen Menu Check Service only took about 2 weeks.

The NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy was developed by the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Ministry of Health, with support from the NSW Catholic Education Commission and the Association of Independent Schools. The Strategy classifies foods and drinks as every day and occasional. By the end of 2019, canteen menus must meet the ratio of 75% every day to 25% occasional foods to be compliant with the Strategy.

Good for Kids offers support to canteen managers across the HNE region including; canteen manager workshops, generalised canteen menu feedback, support via telephone or school visits and assistance with filling in the menu check application form. If your school would like support with the canteen, please call Renee Reynolds on 02 4924 6529. For more information on the NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy visit

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