Research has shown that food preferences are generally acquired during childhood and that eating habits acquired after adolescence are more resistant to change. The school environment plays an important role in nurturing and sustaining good eating habit.
Research has shown that food preferences are generally acquired during childhood and that eating habits acquired after adolescence are more resistant to change.
The school environment plays an important role in nurturing and sustaining good eating habits. Most students consume at least one snack or one meal in their school canteen on most days of the week over a period of several years.
In view of this, the Healthy Eating in Schools Programme (HESP), formerly known as the Model School Tuckshop Programme (MSTP), seeks to enhance the availability of healthier food and beverage choices in schools through an integrated programme involving teachers, canteen vendors and students. The Health Promotion Board (HPB), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE), actively encourages schools to participate in this programme. The achievement of the Healthy Eating in Schools award is a pre-requisite for schools to qualify for the Gold or Platinum CHERISH (Championing Efforts Resulting in Improved School Health) Award.
As of 2009, 87% of schools in Singapore have achieved the Healthy Eating in Schools award. Clickfor the list of schools.
Assessment of food and beverages served in school
To achieve the Healthy Eating in Schools award, all canteen vendors in participating schools are assessed by nutritionists/ dietitians commissioned by HPB for their adherence to the 10 guidelines of the Healthy Eating in Schools Programme.
Following that, schools are required to monitor the food and beverages served in the canteen to ensure the continued adherence to the guidelines. To do this, representatives from the School Canteen Committee can use theto guide them.
Parents can assist the schools in their efforts to provide healthier food and beverage choices in the school canteen by providing feedback to the schools where appropriate.
If a school which has received the Healthy Eating in Schools Award is found to have failed in their efforts to adhere with the Healthy Eating in Schools Guidelines during the period of the award, HPB may consider revoking the award.
In addition to the assessment of food and beverages sold in school canteens, HPB supports participating schools by organising:
- Culinary training for the canteen vendors to equip them with knowledge of healthy nutrition and culinary skills to prepare healthier meals.
- Briefings for the School Canteen Committee to guide them in monitoring the food sold in schools.
The 10 guidelines of the Healthy Eating in Schools Programme
In order to achieve the Healthy Eating in Schools award, schools need to fulfill these 10 food service guidelines. These guidelines aim to limit the fat, salt and sugar content as well as promote the consumption of whole-grains, fruit and vegetables among students.
The following guidelines apply to all food and beverages sold by the canteen and café to the entire school population which includes students and staff.
Sale of drinks and desserts with less sugar.
- For commercially prepared sweetened drinks, these must have the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) logo. For commercially prepared unsweetened drinks or concentrates (powdered or liquid), the sugar content must be equal to or less than 7g/100ml.
- For home-made drinks and desserts (egs. barley, coffee, tea, green bean soup, tau huay, “pearl”/ “bubble” tea, chin chow and sago),
a. the sugar content must be equal to or less than 7g/100ml
b. there shall be no artificial sweeteners (eg. aspartame) added
c. solid ingredients (egs. canned fruit in syrup, “pearl”/ “bubble”, chin chow and sago) which are sweetened shall not be used.
- There shall be no sweetener (e.g. syrup, sugar, honey) added to home-made fruit juices.
- All drink vending machines in the school (including those located outside the canteen area) shall only sell drinks with the HCS logo.
Sale of deep-fried food and preserved food on only one specified day a week (this specified day shall not be changed). Examples of such food include deep-fried chicken nuggets, deep-fried breaded chicken patty, sausages, preserved vegetables and preserved eggs.
When high-fat ingredients (egs. coconut milk/cream, full-cream milk, full-fat yoghurt, full-fat cheese, mayonnaise, cream) are used in food and beverage preparations, half or more of the required amounts of such ingredients shall be replaced with low-fat alternatives (egs. low-fat milk, low-fat evaporated milk, low-fat yoghurt, low-fat cheese, low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat cream).
Butter, lard and ghee shall not be used in food preparation.
Use skinless poultry and lean meat when preparing food.
Provide the recommended amounts of vegetables in rice and noodle dishes.
Sell at least 2 types of fresh fruit every day. Fruit juice is not counted.
Gravy/sauce/oily or salty soup shall not be served unless requested.
Upon request, do not serve more than 2 dessert spoons of gravy/sauce/oily or salty soup. This guideline is applicable to stalls selling rice with food items including rice dishes traditionally served with gravy and sauce (egs. teriyaki chicken rice, char siew rice).
There must be at least two working water coolers within the canteen area.
Use wholemeal/whole-grain bread to prepare at least half a sandwich (ie. a sandwich can be prepared with 1 slice of white bread and 1 slice of wholemeal/whole-grain bread).
Limit the sale of commercially-prepared fan choi, lor mai kai, crisps, chips, cookies, cakes, biscuits, buns and steamed paus to those with the Healthier Choice Symbol/Healthier Snack Symbol logo.
For more information, please email Ms Nim K. Sandhu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 6435 3018.