Get sugar out of school canteens
Added sugars are a major contributor to obesity and tooth decay. The updated 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines amended the approach to sugar recommending the limited intake of food and drink with added sugars.
Yet, the sorely out-dated Fresh Tastes @ School NSW Canteen Menu Planning Guide still allows for children to consume “moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars”.
Canteen foods are restricted based on their fat and sodium content – but not sugar.
Under the Guide – last revised in 2006 – sugary food items such as chocolate milk, liquid breakfast drinks, ice creams and muffins are still routinely available in canteens. Many of these items are marketed as healthy and “canteen-friendly” with a “green light” because they contain low levels of fat and sodium.
The Fresh Tastes @ School NSW Canteen Menu Planning Guide, which is mandatory for schools to follow, must be updated to reflect these limits on sugar intake.
Sample canteen offerings in Sydney schools which are available daily to kids “Green light”
Sanitarium Up & Go Choc Ice 350 ml = 6.65 tsp sugar
Coco Pops Chocolately Liquid Breakfast 250ml = 6.12 tsp sugar
Nestle Milo Scoop Shake 240 ml = 6.47 tsp sugar
Icy Pole Raspberry flavour 79g = 2.9 tsp sugar
Oak Light Chocolate Milk 300 ml = 7.4 tsp sugar
Banana bread, one slice = 2.93 tsp sugar
Yesterday I questioned the Minister for Education about whether the school guidelines would be updated to reflect the dietary guidelines. You can read his response HERE
In short, the Minister said his department was working on it. I’ll certainly be pursuing this issue to ensure the Minister follows through on his promise so our kids are given the best chance possible to eat healthily.
Some sobering facts:
- Most children’s intake of vegetables, fruit, grain (cereal) foods and milk, yoghurt and cheese products and alternatives is below recommended levels.
- Australia’s 1995 National Nutrition Survey showed that energy-dense, nutrient-poor “extra foods” contributed 41% of the total daily energy intake of 2-18 year olds.
- The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing and is expected to become Australia’s leading cause of disease burden by 2023.