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Healthy tuck shops for Western Cape schools

child-eating-applePotato chips may be a popular food choice at schools, but it’s not the healthiest choice. 

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) partnered with Woolworths, the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and dieticians Shelly Meltzer and Associates to launch the Healthy Eating Guide for school tuck shops.

Western Cape Education Minister Debbie Schäfer said school children face many challenges, from malnutrition to obesity. “Schools can help make the difference by ensuring that food provided on the school grounds meet the standards of good nutrition for children.”

The guide aims to promote healthy eating and beat lifestyle diseases such as obesity. 

How can this guide help my school?

The guide provides useful information on healthy foods. For example, school tuck shops should avoid selling foods or snacks that are high in sugar, fat, salt or artificial colourants and flavours. Food should be rich in nutrients, minerals and vitamins.

It also provides the following guidelines to help you understand the value of foods:

  • Deep fried potato chips provide high carbohydrates, high salt and fat. These snacks are not nutritionally complete and lack protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It can also lead to weight gain.
  • A wholewheat roll or sandwich with fresh avocado, skinless chicken, lettuce and tomato as a meal provides a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and a reasonable serving of raw fruit and vegetables. This type of meal can promote your child’s health and performance at school.  

What should my child eat to be healthy?

1.    Fruits and vegetables

School tuck shops should sell fresh fruit and can include vegetables in curries, sandwiches, wraps and soups. 

2.    High fibre foods

High fibre foods prevent constipation and can prevent certain types of cancers. It also increases the feeling of fullness. These foods include:

  • fresh and dried legumes such as beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils,
  • wholewheat and other whole grain breads such as rye,
  • wholewheat pasta and noodles, 
  • cereals such as bran and muesli, and
  • brown rice.

3.    Dairy products

Dairy products provide important nutrients such as calcium, which we need for strong and healthy bones. Tuck shops can sell milk products such as milk, unsweetened yoghurt and maas.

Here is an example of a weekly plan for healthy lunches.





Healthy hotdogs

Low fat sausages, chicken sausage, wholewheat bread, salads.


Chicken biryani



Long grain rice or brown rice, lentils, carrots, peas, cauliflower, sweet potato, skinless chicken or fish.

*You can serve this meal with plain low-fat yoghurt and fresh herbs.


Macaroni cheese

Low fat or fat free milk, mature cheddar, cooked vegetables such as diced carrots, grated marrows or peas.


Healthy pizza slices

Wholewheat pita breads, mature cheddar, lots of seasonal vegetables

*It is not necessary to include meat, but if you do, use lean meat such as skinless chicken. This can be steamed instead of fried, and shredded after cooking to make it go further


Fish or vegetable burgers

Tinned fish, boiled lentils, cooked butternut, kidney beans or chickpeas or lentils.

Use flavours such as chopped dhania (coriander) and ground cumin.

Use wholewheat bread for crumbs.

Serve on wholewheat rolls with lots of lettuce and tomatoes.


Discover more ways to start your healthy tuck shop

Browse through the Healthy Foods Guide and learn how to make smart food choices:

  • tips for healthy meals and drinks,
  • food hygiene standards,
  • a guide on healthy foods school policy,
  • a healthy foods communications strategy guide, and
  • a dietician’s guide on healthy foods.

Create a healthy foods tuck shop to help children make healthy food choices and fight lifestyle related diseases.

The content on this page was last updated on 18 March 2020