Publication - Advice and guidance

Healthy eating in schools: guidance 2020

Published: 10 Feb 2021

Statutory guidance supporting the implementation of the Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

121 page PDF

692.2 kB

121 page PDF

692.2 kB

Contents
Healthy eating in schools: guidance 2020
Section 3: Food and Drink standards for primary schools

121 page PDF

692.2 kB

Section 3: Food and Drink standards for primary schools

Table 1: At a glance - food and drink standards for primary school lunches

1. Fruit and vegetables

At least two portions of vegetables and one portion of fruit must be offered every day.

2. Oily fish

Oily fish must be provided at least once every three weeks.

3. Red and red processed meat

No more than a total of 175g of red and red processed meat (cooked weight) can be provided in school lunches over the course of the school week, of which no more than 100g (cooked weight) can be red processed meat.

4. Sweetened baked products or desserts

Sweetened baked products or desserts can be served no more than three times per week and only where they meet the specified criteria.

5. Breakfast cereals

Only breakfast cereals meeting specified criteria can be provided.

6. Deep fried and fried foods

Food that has been deep fried in the cooking or manufacturing process shall not be permitted more than three times in a week.

Chips must only be served as part of a meal.

7. Savoury snacks

Only plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks can be provided.

8. Bread

All bread and bread rolls must contain a minimum of 3g of AOAC fibre per 100g.

9. Sweetened yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk-based desserts

Only Sweetened yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk-based desserts meeting specified criteria can be provided.

10. Pastry and pastry products

Pastry and pastry products must not be provided more than twice per week including school lunch and at other times of the school day.

11. Oils and spreads

Only oils and spreads high in polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated fats can be used.

12. Table salt and other condiments

Additional salt cannot be provided.

Condiments (if provided) must be dispensed in no more than 10ml portions.

13. Confectionery

No confectionery can be provided at any time of the day either as a separate product such as a chocolate bar or as an ingredient in products under any other standard such as sweetened baked goods or pastry items.

14. Drinks

Only the following drinks can be provided at any time of the primary school day:

Plain still or sparkling water

Plain lower fat milk

Plain, lower fat, calcium enriched milk alternatives

No added sugar, lower fat milk drinks

No added sugar, lower fat drinking yoghurts

Table 2. At a glance - food and drink standards that apply to provision at all other times of the primary school day. For example breakfast clubs, vending machines, mid-morning break, tuckshops and after school clubs

1. Fruit and vegetables

Portions of fruit and/or vegetable must be made available in any place within the premises where food is provided.

2. Oily fish

No standard applies.

3. Red and red processed meat

No red or red processed meat can be provided.

4. Sweetened baked products or desserts

Only sweetened baked products or desserts that meet the specified criteria can be provided.

5. Breakfast cereals

Only breakfast cereals meeting specified criteria can be provided.

6. Deep fried and fried foods

No fried food can be provided except for savoury snacks detailed below.

7. Savoury snacks

Plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks can be provided.

Other pre-packaged savoury snacks meeting specified criteria can be provided.

8. Bread

All bread and bread rolls must contain a minimum of 3g of AOAC fibre per 100g.

9. Sweetened yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk-based desserts

Only Sweetened yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk-based desserts meeting specified criteria can be provided.

10. Pastry and pastry products

Pastry and pastry products must not be provided more than twice per week across the school day, including school lunch and at other times of the school day.

11. Oils and spreads

Only oils and spreads meeting specified criteria can be used.

12. Table salt and other condiments

Additional salt cannot be provided.

Condiments (if provided) must be dispensed in no more than 10ml portions.

13. Confectionery

No confectionery can be provided at any time of the day either as a separate product such as a chocolate bar or as an ingredient in products under any other standard for example sweetened baked goods or pastry products.

14. Drinks

Only the following drinks can be provided:

Plain still or sparkling water

Plain, lower fat milk

Plain, lower fat, calcium enriched milk alternatives

No added sugar, lower fat milk drinks

No added sugar, lower fat drinking yoghurts

Fruit and Vegetables

Standard 1

Primary school lunchtime

At least two portions of vegetables and one portion of fruit must be offered every day as part of a school lunch.

Other times of the primary school day, including breakfast clubs; mid-morning break; tuckshops; nurture groups and after-school clubs

Portions of fruit and/or vegetable must be made available in any place within the premises where food is provided.

Why is this standard important?

It is desirable to increase fruit and vegetable intake because:

  • Fruit and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fibre and other naturally occurring beneficial components. Current recommendations are to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day as part of a healthy balanced diet.
  • Very few children in Scotland eat the recommended amount of five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.[12]
  • Low consumption of fruit and vegetables remains one of the most concerning features of the Scottish diet. Low fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to poor health and increased risk of certain diseases including heart disease and some cancers. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of the daily diet may reduce the risk of these diseases.

What is a portion of vegetables?

A portion of all fresh, frozen and canned vegetables is 40g.

What vegetables are included?

All fresh, frozen and canned vegetables are included whether offered as a salad, cooked vegetable, or as part of a dish (e.g. soups, stews and sandwiches).

Vegetables that are added to dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles, pasta-based dishes and sandwiches can only count as a portion if the vegetables added amount to a full portion.

Pulses (e.g. beans and lentils)

Pulses, for example baked beans, kidney beans, lentils and chick peas can be classified as either a protein food or vegetable. However, they can only make up a maximum of one portion of vegetables even if several portions are available. This is because pulses don't give the same range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as other vegetables.

What foods are not counted as a vegetable portion?

Potatoes

Potatoes do not count as a vegetable portion because they are classified as starchy foods which are also an important part of a balanced diet.

Products canned in tomato sauce e.g. canned spaghetti

Canned spaghetti in tomato sauce and similar products cannot be counted as a vegetable portion. This is because spaghetti is a starchy food and not a vegetable, and tomato sauce does not contain the same mix of fibre and vitamins and minerals as a standard portion of vegetables.

What is a portion of fruit?

A portion is 40g of fresh, frozen and canned fruit.

A portion is 15g of dried fruit.

What fruits are included?

All types of fruit whether fresh, frozen, canned and dried are included.

Dried fruit

Dried fruit can count as one of the fruits on offer across the school day but at least one other type of fruit should be available as an alternative to this.

Dried fruit is a concentrated source of sugar and frequent exposure to sugar damages teeth so it is preferable to provide dried fruit as part of a meal as opposed to a snack to promote good dental health practices.

What foods are not counted as a fruit portion?

Fruit juice, smoothies or combination fruit and vegetable drinks are not permitted to be provided in schools. This is because these products are high in free sugars. Free sugars are all sugars which are added to food and drinks by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. Under this definition, lactose (the sugar in milk) when naturally present in milk and milk products and the sugars contained within the cellular structure of foods are excluded. When fruit or vegetables are turned into juice, the sugars come out of their cells and become free sugars; the fibre is lost and it is easy to consume too much.

Processed fruit products such as fruit bars or apple crisps cannot be counted as a portion of fruit or vegetables for the same reasons.

Include a variety of fruit and vegetables on the menu every day

Different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The school lunch menus should include a variety of fruit and vegetables over the school week for the children to get the most benefit. For example, peas should not be on the menu every day and, if serving salads, regularly, try to include different types of fruit and vegetables.

Practical Guidance

  • Each portion can be made up of a variety of fruit and/or vegetables, for example four quarter portions of fruit as a fruit salad dessert or two half portions of vegetables as a vegetable curry main dish.
  • Consideration must also be given to the oils and spreads standard for example where a salad bar offers dressings.

Guide[13] to fruits and vegetables serving portions

Primary

Cooked vegetables: 1½ heaped tablespoons

Mixed salads: ½ cereal bowl

Salad vegetables:

  • cherry tomatoes: 3½ cherry tomatoes
  • cucumber: 2½ cm chunk
  • celery: ½ full length sticks
  • peppers: ¼ pepper

Pulses such as beans and lentils - cooked weight: 1½ heaped tablespoons

Small-sized fruit e.g. plums, clementines, apricots, kiwi fruit, strawberries, cherries, grapes, raspberries: 1 fruit or more - 1 plum; 1 clementine; 1 kiwi fruit; 1½ apricots; 3 lychees; 3½ strawberries; 7 cherries; 7 grapes; 10 raspberries

Medium-sized fruit e.g. apple, banana, pear, orange: ½ medium fruit - Includes apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine

Large-sized fruit e.g. grapefruit, melon, pineapple, mango: ¼ grapefruit; ½ slice of melon (5 cm slice); ½ large slice of pineapple; 1 slice of mango (5 cm slice)

Currants, raisins, sultanas: ½ heaped tablespoon

Dried apricots, figs and prunes: 1½ whole dried apricot or prune; 1 whole dried fig

Fruit salad, fruit canned in juice: 1½ heaped tablespoons

Stewed fruit: 1 heaped tablespoon

How to increase fruit and vegetable intakes

  • Add extra vegetables and pulses to stews, casseroles or other dishes, and add fresh, canned fruit in natural juice or dried fruit into desserts and puddings.
  • Soups are popular with children and are a useful way of increasing vegetable intake; vegetable-based soup should contain a minimum of one portion of vegetables per serving, and can then be counted as one portion of vegetables.
  • Add fruit to pies, crumbles and other composite fruit dishes aiming to ensure that one serving contains at least one portion of fruit.
  • Offer low fat dressings or dips to go with salad or crudites.
  • Offer fruit and vegetables in a variety of colours and shapes.
  • Offer some fruit and vegetables separately on occasion instead of always as a mix to allow children to select the fruit and vegetables they want without being put off by the items they don't enjoy.

Maximising desirable nutrients

Some vitamins and minerals can be easily lost when fruit and vegetables are prepared, cooked or stored so bear the following in mind.

  • Use fresh fruit and vegetables soon after purchase as the vitamin content will decrease the longer they are stored - or use frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • Cook fruit and vegetables as soon as possible after cutting. If this is not possible, cover and chill them.
  • Use cooking methods which use the minimum amount of water - steaming, microwaving, or boiling in minimal water.
  • Cook vegetables as close to service as possible.

Minimising less desirable nutrients in canned foods

  • Use fruits canned in natural fruit juice and drain off the juice before serving.
  • Use vegetables and pulses canned in plain water or natural juice and without added salt or sugar.
  • To help meet the nutrient standard for salt, limit the use of pickled vegetables e.g. pickled onions and pickled beetroot as these can be high in salt.

Oily Fish

Standard 2

Primary school lunchtime

Oily fish must be provided at least once every three weeks.

Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

No requirement.

Why is this standard important?

Oily fish is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which have a number of health benefits including helping maintain a healthy heart. Children in Scotland and other parts of the UK do not eat enough oily fish and need encouragement to consume more in the diet. Schools can play a significant role in promoting oily fish consumption.

What are oily fish?

Oily fish are those fish which contain certain types of beneficial fats in their flesh. The fats are called long chain omega-3 fatty acids. White fish have only very small amounts of these fats in their flesh, so do not count as oily fish and while tuna is a healthy choice, fresh or canned tuna does not count as an oily fish.

Examples of oily fish include fresh, canned or frozen salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, or pilchards.

Practical Guidance

  • Offer regular small taster portions to introduce children to fish dishes they may not have tried before. Small tasters are a very good way of helping children to accept new or different foods.
  • Offer a variety of dishes over time to encourage children to keep eating oily fish. Try fish in dishes that children are familiar with such as curry, pasta and pizza.
  • Use oily fish as a filling for sandwiches, wraps, and baked potatoes. It can also be used to make pate or served on the salad bar.
  • Try gradually increasing the proportion of oily fish over time for example mixing oily fish with white fish to make fish cakes or add salmon fishcakes to the menu.
  • Ensure that all staff are aware of the benefits of eating oily fish and get them to encourage children to take these dishes.
  • Get children involved by running promotions related to increasing oily fish consumption.
  • If caterers are procuring manufactured fish products, it is important to make sure they are lower fat, saturated fat and salt varieties.

Red and red processed meat

Standard 3

Primary school lunchtime

No more than 175g (cooked weight) of red and red processed meat is permitted at lunchtime over the course of the primary school week, of which no more than 100g (cooked weight) can be red processed meat.

Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

No red and red processed meat can be served at any other time during the primary school day.

Why is this standard important?

Red meat is a good source of a range of important nutrients including iron and zinc.

Inclusion of red meat in school menus can help meet the nutrient standards for school lunches.

As part of a balanced diet, it is recommended that we consume no more than 70g of red and red processed meat per day. The maximum levels for provision of red and red processed meat during the school week have been calculated using this figure.

What is included?

Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison, goat and offal from those sources.

Red processed meat refers to red meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservative; for example sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pates.

The list of red meat sources provided above is based on the scientific evidence and information about what is currently offered in schools. Should you wish to use other sources of red and red processed meat, for example rabbit, this should be included in the quantities set out above in order to ensure children are not provided with a total amount of red and red meat which exceeds current dietary advice.

The addition of ingredients such as egg, breadcrumbs, flour, seasoning (including small amounts of salt for the purposes of seasoning) and spices to red meat does not constitute processing and therefore would not be referred to as a processed meat product provided it has not undergone any of the processes listed above or the addition of preservatives.

Practical guidance

  • It has been assumed that primary school children will only access red and red processed meat at lunchtime each day during the school week. However it is also recognised that primary aged children may also consume red and red processed meat at mealtimes outwith school. Therefore the limit to be served over the course of the school week has been calculated to assume that half of the maximum amount over 5 days will be consumed in school (175g) at lunchtime leaving an allowance of half (175g) for meals consumed outwith school.
    The aim of this standard is to ensure that, in line with current dietary advice, over the course of a week, an individual child is provided with no more than 175g of red meat of which no more than 100g is red processed meat.
    Further information about how to calculate red and red processed meat allowance including taking account of cooked meat weight loss can be found in the Nutritional Analysis Manual available on the Education Scotland website.
  • Remember that red or red processed meat available at other service points, for example ham on a salad bar, will also count towards your weekly limits.
  • You should take steps to reduce the fat content of your meat dishes as far as possible, for example, by trimming visible fat from meat before cooking and using leaner cuts of meat. Doing this will also help to meet the fat and saturated fat nutrient standards for school lunches.
  • Using smaller amounts of red meat in school lunches alongside a range of vegetables and/or pulses will increase the frequency with which you can offer red meat dishes across the week. For example lentils in Bolognese or more beans in chilli.
  • When providing red processed meat products, you should take steps to choose those which are lower in salt as this will help ensure that you do not exceed the maximum sodium levels specified in the nutrient standards.
  • When cooking consider whether grilling or oven baking instead of frying could be used in order to reduce the amount of fat used.
  • Whilst processed white meat products are not restricted in the same way as red processed meat, these products can be high in fat and sodium and so should be carefully considered as part of any provision across the school day. This is particularly important as we continue our journey of reduced reliance on processed foods in general in favour of fresh, sustainable and seasonal foods.

Sweetened baked products and desserts

Standard 4

Primary school lunchtime

Sweetened baked products and desserts can be served no more than three times per week.

When served they must contain no more than 15g of total sugar per portion.

Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Only products meeting the following criteria can be provided:

  • No more than 7g of total sugar per portion.
  • No more than 13g of fat per portion.
  • No more than 4g of saturated fat per portion.

Why is this standard important?

These types of products tend to contain high amounts of sugar, fat and saturated fat.

It is important that children are taught to see this type of product as one that should be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet rather than something to be consumed every day.

Limiting the frequency with which these products are available means that children could be encouraged to choose other items on offer such as fruit.

What is included?

Baking, home baked and commercially produced e.g. cookies, muffins, traybakes, cakes, scones, pancakes, waffles, brownies.

Desserts e.g. sponge puddings, cheesecakes, crumbles, jelly.

Frozen desserts e.g. ice cream and frozen yoghurt.

Biscuits including pre-packed e.g. bourbons, digestives.

Cereal bars including breakfast bakes and bars including home baked products.

Practical guidance

  • Confectionery on or in these products is not permitted
  • Baking recipes can be modified to make them more nutritionally beneficial: to reduce fat and sugar content and to include nutrient and fibre rich ingredients such as oats or fruit.
  • Focus on products which are generally low in fat or sugar such as scones and pancakes with fruit.
  • This standard also applies when providing products as part of a snack for example cheese and digestive biscuits.
  • Some of these products may be served as part of a combination dish, for example cake and custard or pancake with jam. Care should be taken to ensure that the sugar content of a combined dish is properly reflected in your analysis. This can be done by, for example, looking at the percentage of children who commonly take cake by itself and the percentage of children who commonly take both cake and custard and using this data to base your calculations on.
  • Breakfast cereal used as part of a recipe under this standard does not need to comply with the breakfast cereal standard but the finished product must comply with the specification set out above.
  • Where these products are provided as part of a school lunch they must be included in the nutritional analysis.

Breakfast cereals

Standard 5

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Only breakfast cereals meeting the following criteria can be provided:

  • No more than 15g of total sugar per 100g.
  • No more than 440mg of sodium per 100g.
  • No more than 1.1g of salt per 100g.
  • At least 3g of fibre per 100g.

Breakfast cereal served as part of the school lunch must be included in the nutritional analysis.

Why is this standard important?

Breakfast cereals can be a good source of fibre and other important nutrients and many are fortified with added vitamins and minerals, however they can also contain high levels of sugar and salt.

What is included?

Any breakfast cereal that meet all of the above criteria.

Practical guidance

  • Confectionery on or in these products is not permitted.
  • Focus on plain breakfast cereals such as wheat biscuits and porridge.
  • Offer different fruits throughout the week to add variety.
  • Offer different cereals throughout the week to provide a variety of nutrients, tastes and textures.

Deep fried and fried foods

Standard 6

Primary school lunchtime

Food that has been deep fried in the cooking or manufacturing process must only be provided a maximum of three times in a week.

Chips must only be provided as part of a school lunch.

Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

No fried foods can be provided except for savoury snacks meeting the specified criteria set out in standard 7.

Why is this standard important?

Reducing the number of occasions when deep fried foods can be served will assist in meeting the nutrient standard for energy and fat for meals and help to reduce fat intakes across the school day.

This standard is important in challenging the culture in Scotland of regularly eating chips and other deep fried foods. It aims to encourage children to eat a healthy balanced meal containing a variety of types of food and to see chips as an occasional item to be enjoyed as part of a meal.

Which foods are included?

Any foods which are deep fried, either in the kitchen or during the manufacturing process. These foods may include chips, oven chips, potato waffles, potato wedges, pakora and spring rolls and pre-prepared coated, battered and breaded products e.g. chicken nuggets, fish fingers, potato shapes, battered onion rings and doughnuts.

Some foods are deep fried when they are manufactured and only need to be oven baked by the school. These foods are still considered to be deep fried and can only be served as the standard specifies.

Can fish and chips still be served as part of a school lunch?

Yes, but serving battered or deep fried fish and chips (including oven chips) on the same day means that only one other deep fried food can be served on the menu that week. Also, this is only possible if the school lunch menu meets the nutrient standards in Section 5.

Practical Guidance

  • When frying, always use clean oil, ensure that the oil is at the appropriate temperature and the food is not immersed in the oil for too long. Using the right temperature and timing helps prevent too much fat being absorbed.
  • If caterers are procuring manufactured products, it is important to make sure they are lower fat, saturated fat and sodium varieties.
  • Only use permitted oils e.g. rich in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats like sunflower oil or a mixed vegetable oil (refer to standard 11 - oils and spreads).

Savoury snacks

Standard 7

Primary school lunchtime

Only plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks can be provided.

Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks can be provided.

Other pre-packaged savoury snacks meeting the following criteria can also be provided:

  • Pack size of no more than 25g.
  • No more than 22g of fat per 100g.
  • No more than 2g of saturated fat per 100g.
  • No more than 600mg of sodium per 100g.
  • No more than 1.5g of salt per 100g.
  • No more than 3g of total sugar per 100g.

Why is this standard important?

Children need to have access to a balanced meal at lunchtime. Savoury snacks such as crisps tend to be high in fat and salt and can often replace foods in the diet which may contain important nutrients.

At other times of the day, while savoury snacks can provide additional choice, allowing these snacks outwith meal times by applying a criteria balances the desire for choice with the need to encourage healthier versions of these products.

What savoury snacks are included?

Any savoury snacks that meet the above criteria for the relevant part of the day in which they are being served.

Practical Guidance

  • When choosing what products to offer, be aware of nut allergies. Always refer to allergy policies and interpret this standard in light of those policies.
  • As savoury snacks meeting the specified criteria can be provided or sold outwith the school lunch, schools need to carefully consider the placement and availability of such snacks e.g. in vending machines, or community cafés, as these products are not permitted to be provided during the school lunch service when only plain oatcakes, crackers and breadsticks are permitted.
  • This standard also applies when providing products as part of a snack for example cheese and crackers.

Bread

Standard 8

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

All bread and bread rolls must contain a minimum of 3g of AOAC fibre per 100g.

Why is this standard important?

Bread is a starchy food which provides energy, a range of vitamins and minerals and is a good source of fibre. Eating starchy foods is a key part of a healthy diet, and should make up around a third of the food we eat according to the Eatwell guide.

What is AOAC fibre?

AOAC fibre is the current methodology used in product analysis and food labelling to calculate the fibre content of a product. It replaces the previous NSP method of calculating fibre content.

Where a label states fibre, this can be taken to mean AOAC fibre but if you are in any doubt, you can confirm with your supplier.

What bread is included?

All bread and rolls provided at lunchtime and at all other times of the school day.

Bread and rolls including but not limited to: Pre-packaged, home-made, white, brown, malted grain, wholemeal and 50:50 bread or rolls (part-baked and freshly baked) including seeded products, French bread, ciabatta, focaccia, pitta, naan, panini roll, chapattis, flour tortillas (or wraps) with or without additions such as cheese, olives, garlic, garlic butter or other flavourings such as herbs, sundried tomatoes or chilli.

The form of bread does not matter so long as they contain a minimum of 3g AOAC fibre per 100g.

Practical Guidance

  • Use a higher proportion of wholemeal flour when baking home-made bread.
  • Where possible, bread should be served without the addition of oils, fats or spreads and where they are provided they must meet the oils and spreads standard.
  • When offering toppings such as jam and honey for example on toast, consider using lower sugar versions, limiting the frequency and portion size or replace them with alternatives such as low fat cream cheese instead of jam.
  • Where provision of sweet condiments is offered as part of the school lunch it must be included in the nutritional analysis.
  • Higher fibre options (those with 6g of AOAC fibre per 100g) should gradually be introduced across the school day to further increase fibre intake and get children used to eating these as part of their diet.
  • Bread is one of the main sources of sodium in the diets of people in the UK. Work is ongoing with the food industry to encourage reductions in the levels of sodium in a wide range of processed foods including bread. When caterers are purchasing bread, it is important to make sure that they select breads with the lowest sodium content.

Sweetened yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk-based desserts

Standard 9

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Only sweetened yoghurt, fromage frais and other milk-based desserts meeting the following criteria can be provided:

  • Maximum portion size of 125g.
  • No more than 10g of total sugar per 100g.
  • No more than 3g of fat per 100g.

Why is this standard important?

Milk-based desserts are a good source of calcium which is important for bone development. However, these items can also be high in sugar and this should be considered particularly where these products are provided outwith the school lunch.

What is included?

Sweetened yoghurts and fromage frais

Other milk-based desserts including but not limited to, custard, rice pudding, milk whip and semolina.

Practical guidance

  • If these products are provided as part of a school lunch they must be included in the nutritional analysis.
  • Confectionery on or in these products is not permitted.
  • Offer natural yoghurt and serve with different fruits to add variety.
  • Offer unsweetened or lower sugar products wherever possible.
  • Be aware that sugar in the form of lactose naturally present in natural yoghurt counts towards your total sugar values. Free sugar present in fruit purees added to natural yoghurt will further count towards the total sugar values. As such consideration should be given to the amount of fruit puree used in this way.

Pastry and pastry products

Standard 10

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Pastry and pastry products must not be provided more than a total of twice a week across the school day.

Why is this standard important?

Pastry products often contain large amounts of fat and some contain high amounts of saturated fat. Saturated fats contribute to the risk of heart disease by raising blood cholesterol.

Reducing provision of these products aims to improve the overall diet by restricting overall opportunities to over-consume items high in fat which can contribute to overall poorer nutrition. This will help to teach children to see these products as ones to be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet rather than every day.

What is included?

Savoury and sweet products including but not limited to pies, pastry square, croissants, choux pastry, butteries and Danish pastries.

Practical guidance

  • When provided as part of the school lunch meal they must be included in the nutritional analysis.
  • Confectionery on or in these products is not permitted.
  • Alternatives to pastry top pies may be to use sliced or mashed potatoes or vegetables.
  • When using pastry, use smaller portions.
  • Staff serving lunches and staff providing food at other times of the day must co-ordinate provision between them to ensure that this standard is applied across the school week. This is particularly important where lunchtime provision and provision at other times of the day for example a breakfast or after school club are managed by different staff for example catering and education.

Oils and spreads

Standard 11

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Oils must contain a total saturated fat content which does not exceed 16g per 100g and:

(a) a total monounsaturated fat content of at least 55g per 100g; or

(b) a total polyunsaturated fat content of at least 30g per 100g.

Fat spread must contain:

(a) a total saturated fat content which does not exceed 20g per 100g; and

(b) a combined total monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content of at least 30g per 100g.

Why is this standard important?

As part of a healthy diet, it is not only important to cut down on the amount of total fat eaten, but also to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats (e.g. polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats), which are a healthier alternative.

Saturated fats contribute to the risk of heart disease by raising blood cholesterol levels. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can lower blood cholesterol and help to reduce risk of heart disease.

This means that butter, hard margarines, lard and some cooking oils are not appropriate for use in a school setting as these contain high levels of saturated fat.

What types of oils are likely to be suitable?

Oils which are rich in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats are likely to include: olive, rapeseed (canola), safflower, sunflower, corn, soya, walnut, linseed, sesame seed and nut oils (refer to allergy policies).

What types of fat spreads are likely to be suitable?

Spreads which are rich in monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats are likely to include rapeseed, olive oil, sunflower and soya based choices.

Practical Guidance

  • To help meet the nutritional standards for total fat and saturated fat for school lunches, and to reduce the amount of total fat and saturated fat that is provided across the rest of the school day, use oils and fats spreads sparingly by;
    • grilling or oven baking food instead of frying;
    • limiting the amount of oils in cooking and dressings; and
    • limiting the amount of fat spreads added to bread, sandwiches, potatoes and vegetables.

Salt and Other Condiments

Standard 12

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

No salt can be made available to add to food after the cooking process for school lunches is complete.

Condiments (if provided) must be dispensed in no more than 10ml portions.

Why is this standard important?

Often children consume more salt than they need, which could have an effect on their health in the future. Eating too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, which may then lead to heart disease and stroke.

It is the sodium in salt that can have harmful effects on health. Some foods contain other forms of sodium, such as those used as flavour enhancers (e.g. monosodium glutamate) and raising agents (e.g. sodium bicarbonate).

Too much salt, too often will give children a taste for salty food and they will be more likely to continue eating too much salt when they grow up. Whilst most salt in the diet comes from manufactured products, it is important to limit the amount used during and after cooking.

Condiments are often high in fat, sugar and/or salt

What is included?

All salts and condiments including but not limited to: table salt, sea salt, tomato ketchup, brown sauce, mayonnaise, salad cream, French dressing, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, tabasco sauce, plain and creamed horseradish sauce, mint sauce, mint jelly, tartare sauce, pickles and relishes.

Practical guidance

  • Salt used in the cooking process for school lunches must be included in the nutritional analysis.
  • Condiments provided as part of the school lunch must be included in the nutritional analysis.
  • Only serve condiments on request, keeping them away from till points.
  • Only provide condiments when a meal requires them for palatability for example tomato ketchup with a burger/meat substitute which may otherwise be too dry without it.
  • Use healthier alternatives such as dressings or sauces made with natural yoghurt enhanced with suitable flavourings such as herbs.
  • Limit the amount of salt and other condiments which have a higher salt content, for example soy sauce, used in cooking, replacing them with other flavourings such as garlic, lemon juice, herbs and spices.
  • Choose foods that have a lower salt content when procuring manufactured foods.
  • Use lower fat, sugar and salt versions of condiments where possible.

Confectionery

Standard 13

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

No confectionery can be made available in any place within school premises.

Why is this standard important?

Confectionery items contain large amounts of free sugar and some also contain high amounts of fat. These foods are high in energy (calories) but provide very few nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals and fibre. Sugar-free sweets also provide little nutritional value and could displace other more nutritious food from the diet.

This standard aims to improve dental health by reducing the frequency that children consume sugars. It also aims to improve the overall diet by restricting foods high in sugar and fats.

What does the term confectionery include?

The term confectionery refers to the following groups of products.

  • Chocolate in any form, any product containing or wholly or partially coated with chocolate and any chocolate flavoured substance, but excludes cocoa powder used in sweetened and baked products and drinks: e.g. bars of milk, plain or white chocolate, chocolate flakes, chocolate buttons, chocolate chips, chocolate filled eggs, chocolate drizzled products such as biscuits or chocolate covered products such as choc ices.
  • Non-chocolate confectionery (whether or not containing sugar): e.g. boiled, gum/gelatine, liquorice, mint and other sweets, lollipops, fudge, tablet, toffee, sherbet, marshmallows, chewing gum or processed fruit sweets and bars.
  • Any sugared or wholly or partially yoghurt-coated products: e.g. sugared or yoghurt coated fruit and nuts or yoghurt drizzled cereal bars and biscuits.

What is permitted?

Cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate) can be used in cakes, biscuits, puddings and drinks in order to allow caterers flexibility in devising their menus. However, any product which is available as part of the primary school lunch will need to be included in the nutritional analysis and meet the relevant specification. These products would also need to meet the relevant criteria for the appropriate standard where they are provided at other times of the day.

Practical guidance

  • No confectionery can be provided at any time of the day either as a separate product such as a chocolate bar in a tuckshop or as an ingredient in products under any other standard such as glace cherries in sweetened baked goods or chocolate chips in pastry items.

Drinks

Standard 14

Primary school lunchtime and Other times of the primary school day including breakfast clubs, mid-morning break, tuckshops, nurture groups and after-school clubs

Free drinking water must be provided. In addition the following drinks can be provided:

  • Plain still or sparkling water.
  • Plain, lower fat milk.
  • Plain, lower fat, calcium enriched milk alternatives.
  • No added sugar, lower fat milk drinks.
  • No added sugar, lower fat drinking yoghurts.

Why is this standard important?

Water and milk are the preferred drinks for children to quench thirst. Milk can be a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals especially calcium which is needed to build healthy bones and teeth.

Milk contains a high percentage of water and is therefore also good for hydration. The high levels of calcium and phosphate in milk help to re-mineralise tooth enamel after it has been exposed to sugary or acidic substances (e.g. acidic flavourings).

Lower fat milk drinks such as drinking yoghurts, flavoured milk and hot chocolate are permitted only where they do not contain any added sugar including for example lactose. This will allow choice and variety but without contributing to free sugar consumption across the day.

Plain, lower fat, calcium enriched milk alternatives can be provided.

Lower fat milk and milk drinks, for example semi-skimmed and skimmed milk, contain similar nutrients to those present in full fat milk but with less fat.

The 2020 Regulations require that every pupil must have access to free drinking water across the day.

Definitions for these drinks can be found at Annex A

Practical advice

  • Ensure that fresh or chilled water is in plain sight to encourage children to take it.
  • Place plain still or sparkling water and plain milk in more prominent positions than other drinks to encourage children to choose them first.
  • Limit the number of occasions you provide no added sugar flavoured milk and drinking yoghurt, to help encourage children to see these drinks as an occasional choice rather than to expect them every day.
  • Consideration should be given to portion sizes to ensure that they are appropriate for different age groups and settings.
  • Please refer to Annex C for advice on the use of sweeteners in schools.

Foods not listed in the school food and drink standards

Not all individual foods are covered by the food and drink standards particularly as new products are emerging all the time. However, it is essential that careful consideration is given to all foods provided, both now and in the future, to ensure the choices support the ethos of the health promoting school, putting the health of children at the centre of every decision.

All foods and drinks provided as part of the primary school lunch must be included in the nutritional analysis.

When deciding what foods to provide, stop and think……… is this a food we should be promoting to children in a health promoting school?


Contact

Email: Lyndsey.Fogg@gov.scot