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Health and Wellbeing > Smart Choices > Frequently Asked Questions >

About the strategy

Q: Does the Smart Choices Strategy apply just to food and drinks sold in tuckshops?

A: No, the Smart Choices Strategy applies to all situations where food and drink is supplied in the school environment. This includes vending machines, school excursions, school camps, fundraising, classroom rewards, school events such as celebrations and sports days, and food used in curriculum activities.

Q: Can children still bring birthday cakes to school to share with their classmates?

A: Yes, birthday cakes can still be brought to school on a child's birthday. This is because these foods are brought from home. The Smart Choices Strategy only applies to foods and drinks supplied by the school.

Q: Does the Smart Choices Strategy apply to food and drinks brought from home eg in student lunch boxes?

A: No, it does not apply to foods and drinks brought from home. While schools may wish to encourage healthy eating practices, the decision about the types of foods and drinks contained in a child's lunchbox is entirely a matter for individual parents.

Q: Are state schools required to implement the strategy?

A: Yes. The implementation of Smart Choices is mandatory in Queensland state schools and strongly encouraged for non-state schools.

Q: Does the strategy apply to both primary and secondary state schools?

A: Yes, the Smart Choices Strategy is mandatory for all state schools in Queensland - primary, secondary and special schools.

Q: Does the food provided by boarding schools need to be consistent with the Smart Choices strategy?

A: Students living as residents at boarding school receive the majority of their daily food and drink intake from these facilities, so it is important they have access to healthy food required for growth, to maintain a healthy weight and to prevent the development of chronic diseases.

In order to provide optimum nutrition to students at boarding school, the food and drinks provided should be consistent with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating External Link and the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia External Link. While Smart Choices is consistent with these guidelines it is preferable that boarding schools use these broader guidelines which outline the recommended serves from the five food groups to meet the daily energy and nutrient requirements of children and young people, rather than focusing solely on the requirements of the Smart Choices strategy.

Q: What does two occasions per term mean?

A: An occasion is any instance where food or drink is supplied to students by the school. Supply includes the offering for sale of food or drink to students.

Two occasions per term applies to the maximum number of times per term that a school is permitted to supply foods or drinks from the RED category.

It doesn't mean that each food or drink from the RED category can be supplied twice per term. It means that one or more of the RED foods or drinks can be supplied on two designated occasions per term.

Q: Why is the availability of RED food and drinks being limited to no more than twice per term?

A: It is very important that children and young people eat a wide variety of foods from the five basic food groups to ensure that their bodies get all the nutrients they need for growth and development.

By limiting foods and drinks from the RED category to no more than two occasions per term, healthier foods and drinks will be promoted as better choices to the whole school community.

Q: Why are RED food and drinks restricted for teenagers? Don't they need RED foods to meet extra energy requirements?

A: Compared to children, young people have higher needs for energy and nutrients during rapid growth and development.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating External Link recommends that young people meet their higher nutrient needs by eating more foods from the five food groups: grain (cereal) foods - mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties; vegetables and legumes/beans; fruit; milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives - mostly reduced fat; and lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans.

Q: Does Smart Choices apply to the school's swimming club?

A: Smart Choices should be applied to all school swimming clubs, regardless of whether the school is using their own school pool or an outside pool to conduct these regular events. All foods and drinks supplied at these events should be from the GREEN or AMBER categories. If RED foods or drinks are supplied to students (eg. through sale at the canteen), then the event would need to be counted as one of the two occasions per term when RED foods and drinks may be supplied.

The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) can provide suggestions for healthy canteen options to both schools and outside organisations. Information on implementing Smart Choices at sporting events and sample menus are also available on page 6 of the Smart Choices@school events tool kit Adobe PDF document2.4M.

Q: Does Smart Choices apply to the school's swimming carnival?

A: Smart Choices should be applied to all individual school swimming carnivals, regardless of whether the school is using their own school pool or an outside pool. All foods and drinks supplied at these events should be from the GREEN or AMBER categories. If RED foods or drinks are supplied to students (eg. through sale at the canteen), then the event would need to be counted as one of the two occasions per term when RED foods and drinks may be supplied.

The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) External Link can provide suggestions for healthy canteen options to both schools and outside organisations.

Q: Does Smart Choices apply to my school's Out of School Hours Care and Vacation Care programs?

A: As part of their accreditation process all Out of School Hours Care services must provide a written nutrition policy that was developed/revised in consultation with families and is consistent with advice from recognised nutrition authorities. This nutrition policy would reflect the intent of Smart Choices which is to supply healthy food and drink options to students. Services may wish to use the Smart Choices strategy to inform the development of their nutrition policy. When developing fundraising activities, OSHC run by P&C associations should consider activities that support the healthy eating messages being given across the school environment.

Q: How do we get a copy of the Smart Choices strategy?

A: Two copies of the Smart Choices strategy have been distributed to all Queensland state and non-state schools. Additional copies of the strategy and resources can be downloaded from this website.

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This page was last reviewed on 23 Sep 2015

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