National Healthy School Canteens

Participant’s Workbook

Topic 1: Nutrition basics

Page last updated: 23 October 2013


The training begins with some basic nutrition information so that everyone will have a similar understanding by the end of the day.

Group discussion: Circumstances that affect eating habits

What factors influence the requirements of canteen customers?

Activity: Nutrients of interest

What foods contain mostly saturated or unsaturated fats? Tick one or the other.

Canola oil
Coconut cream
Coconut milk
Fatty meat
Game meat (for example, kangaroo, rabbit)
Olive oil
Palm oil
Sunflower oil
Vegetable oil (no specification)

Food labelling

Activity: Food label ingredient lists

Look at the labels below for strawberry yoghurt and cereal.

Full-fat strawberry yoghurt

Ingredient List: Low-fat milk, milk solids non fat, sugar, cream (contains milk), strawberries (min. 5%), fructose, thickener (1442), lemon juice, flavours, natural colours (120, 160b), preservative (200), live yoghurt cultures: s.thermophilus, l.acidophilus & bifidobacterium.

Is the first ingredient what you expected it to be?

What is the percentage of strawberries in this product?

What ingredients make this a full-fat product?

How many types of sweetening agents are listed?

Can you see the list of allergens? What are they?

Breakfast cereal – ‘Grainburst’

Ingredient List: Cereals (32%) (wheat flour, oatmeal, maize flour), choc compound (20%) (sugar, palm oil, whey powder, cocoa, emulsifier [soy lecithin], flavour [vanilla]), sugar, glucose, wheat gluten, glucose solids, fructose, dextrose, humectants (glycerol, sorbitol), vegetable oils (hydrogenated soyabean oil [antioxidant (320)], hydrogenated palm oil), treacle, barley malt extract, molasses, salt, mineral salt (sodium bicarbonate), natural colours (caramel III, paprika, turmeric), flavour, emulsifier (soy lecithin).

Contains gluten containing cereals, milk and soy. May contain traces of peanuts and/or tree nuts.

Is the first ingredient what you expected it to be?

What is the next ingredient?

What does that tell you?

How many types of sweetening agents are listed?

Can you see the list of allergens? What are they?

Group discussion: Food label ingredient lists

What claims do you look for on food packages when ordering for the school canteen?

Web resources

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
The Australian Guide to Health Eating is a food selection guide which visually represents the proportion of the five food groups recommended for consumption each day. It reflects the multicultural nature of the population relevant for all sectors of the food and nutrition industry.

Children Nutrition Topics (Victorian Government Health Information)
This website provides fact sheets and information about nutrition for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children at school. (This website link was valid at the time of submission)

2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines
The 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines are based on the best available scientific evidence and provide information for health professionals and the general population about healthy food choices. The use of the guidelines will encourage healthy lifestyles that will minimise the risk of the development of diet-related diseases within the Australian population.

Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) – Smart Eating For You: Nutrition A–Z
This guide covers nutrition information presented in an A–Z format. All material available on this website has been written and regularly reviewed by Accredited Practising Dietitians. (This website link was valid at the time of submission)

Food Standards Australia New Zealand Government Website
The Food Matters part of this website contains information on reading food labels, food allergies, additives and other information in relation to food standards set in Australia and New Zealand.

Fresh for Kids
This website, provided by the Sydney Markets, includes information on seasonal produce, as well as fun things for kids to do relating to healthy eating.

Healthy Weight Guide (Australian Government)
The Healthy Weight Guide is a comprehensive source of information which is available to the Australian public on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The Healthy Weight Guide consists of an interactive website as well as printed materials for those who don’t have access to the internet, and provides: information about healthy weight, physical activity and healthy eating; tips and tools to assist with setting goals and planning healthy meals and physical activity; and a registered area where users can record and track their weight and progress.

Healthdirect – Healthy Eating
An Australian Government Initiative, this website contains links to topics such as diet, family nutrition and key nutrients.

Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand
The Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) are a set of recommendations for nutritional intake based on currently available scientific knowledge. On this page, you will find information on a wide variety of foods and the nutrients they contain. There is also a calculator for determining the nutrient recommendations for specific ages and genders.