Throughout the NHSC Guidelines there are instructions to choose products that are lower in sodium (salt), saturated fat and added sugar and higher in fibre when making dishes ‘from scratch’ in the school canteen. To help you decide if a food is lower in salt, saturated fat or added sugar and higher in fibre, the following table lists some categories of foods with criteria to help you make a healthier choice for that food category.

If the food item being assessed has less than or equal to the numbers specified in the saturated fat, sodium or sugar column, and more than or equal to the number specified in the fibre column, it is a healthier choice.

If the food being assessed is over the threshold for saturated fat, sodium or sugar or under the threshold for fibre (if any criterion is not met), the item is categorised as Amber.

Table 3: Healthier choices assessed per 100g

CategoryNutrient Criteria - Saturated fat (g)
per 100g
Nutrient Criteria - Sodium (mg)
per 100g
Nutrient Criteria - Fibre (g)
per 100g
Nutrient Criteria - Sugar (mg)
per 100g
Breakfast cereals not containing
dried fruit
2g or less- 5g or more20g or less
Breakfast cereals containing dried fruit2g or less-5g or more25g or less
Pasta sauces and simmer sauces2g or less300mg or less--
Soups as prepared ready-to-eat
(condensed, instant)
2g or less300mg or less--
Dips (legume, dairy, vegetable or salsa)2g or less750mg or less--
Mayonnaise and salad dressings3g or less750mg or less--