Healthy Eating

It is important that all Victorian children and young people have easy access to healthy food and drink options in schools and early childhood services.

The school food environment plays an important role in providing children and young people with nourishing food and drink options. Food and drinks provided through school canteens, contracted food services, external businesses and retail food outlets, vending machines, sports days and outside school hours care programs, all contribute to a child’s daily nutrient intake and energy levels.

Healthy food positively influences young people’s growth and development and lifelong health and wellbeing trajectory. Boosting healthy and nutritious food and drink options within the school environment can improve student concentration, mood, memory, learning, academic performance and mental wellbeing and give them the fuel they need to thrive.

Information on this page is designed to help schools and early childhood services promote healthy eating.

Healthy eating guidance

The Department of Education and Training provides schools with guidance to ensure that school food services provide food and drinks which contribute to a supportive healthy school environment. Guidance is provided in the Canteens, Healthy Eating and Other School Food Services policy.     

Early childhood education and care services are required to address the healthy eating requirements in the National Quality Standard under Quality Area 2 – Children's Health and Safety. These standards are aligned to the following resources:      

Vic Kids Eat Well

Vic Kids Eat Well is a Victorian Government initiative that launched in 2022, to support schools and other community organisations to transform their food and drink environments.   

By joining Vic Kids Eat Well, schools and Out of School Hours Care Services (OSHC) providers will receive practical support from a dedicated health professional, along with supportive resources and fantastic rewards such as kitchen supply vouchers, micro-grants, cookbooks, access to healthy eating workshops and more.    

This simple initiative delivered by Cancer Council Victoria's Achievement Program in partnership with Nutrition Australia's Healthy Eating Advisory Service assists schools to meet the Department of Education and Training's Canteens, Healthy Eating and Other School Services policy, ensuring school food services contribute to a supportive, healthy school environment.   

After registering via the Vic Kids Eat Well website, the school or service will be linked with its own dedicated health promotion professional. Together, the health professional and school staff will review the simple healthy food and drink swaps and choose changes that are right for the school community.   

Vic Kids Eat Well's four key 'bite-sized' actions are:

  • refresh the fridge – give sugary drinks the boot and let water take the spotlight 
  • switch up the snacks – ditch the sweets and offer delicious healthy snacks that give kids the fuel they need  
  • change up the menu – give fruit and veggies a chance to shine 
  • put the 'fun' into fundraising and marketing – with healthy meal deals and fundraising

Find out more 

To join or learn about this exciting movement, visit the Vic Kids Eat Well

Healthy eating advisory service

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) is a free service that supports Victorian schools, early childhood education and care services and other settings to provide and promote nutritious foods and drinks, in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

HEAS is delivered by Nutrition Australia's, Victoria Division, with support from the Victorian Government. 

HEAS provides a range of services and resources including: 

    • FoodChecker — a free online menu assessment tool to assess your current canteen or menu, plan future menus, find healthier foods and drinks to supply, and assess individual recipes.
    • online training — for schools, early childhood services and out of school hours care staff
    • fact sheets, templates and curriculum resources
    • recipes and healthy food and drink ideas
    • case studies
    • a free telephone and email Infoline providing practical advice

To find out more visit the Department of Health's Healthy Eating Advisory Service or call 1300 22 52 88.

The Achievement Program

The Achievement Program helps schools and early childhood services to create healthier environments for working and learning. This comprehensive and free program is aligned to the World Health Organisations' model for Health Promoting Schools.

The Achievement Program provides support and resources to enable schools and early childhood services to focus on health areas such as healthy eating, physical activity, and mental health and wellbeing. The Achievement Program is supported by the Victorian Government and delivered by Cancer Council Victoria.

Schools who are focusing on healthy eating may choose to join the Healthy Schools Achievement Program once they have completed the Vic Kids Eat Well actions. The Achievement Program supports school to take further action on creating a whole-of-school approach to health and wellbeing across different health areas. For early childhood services the Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement Program helps services create a healthier environment for their students, staff and families. 

For more information on the Achievement Program please visit the Health Promotion page or the Achievement Program website

Additional Information: