Foods high in fat, sugar and salt

These standards are designed to limit the amount of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt in school food:

  • No more than two portions of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated or breadcrumb-coated may be provided each week, across the school day
  • No more than two portions of food which includes pastry may be provided each week, across the school day
  • Desserts, cakes and biscuits are allowed at lunchtime. They must not contain any confectionery
  • No snacks, except nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit with no added salt, sugar or fat may be provided across the school day
  • Savoury crackers or breadsticks can be served at lunch with fruit or vegetables or dairy food
  • No confectionery must be provided
  • Salt must not be available to add to food after the cooking process is complete
  • Condiments may only be available in sachets or individual portion of no more than 10 grams or one teaspoon

This food group includes:

Deep-fried, batter and breadcrumb-coated foods and pastry:
Any food that is deep-fried or flash-fried either in the kitchen or in the manufacturing process. This includes chips (including oven chips), potato waffles, hash browns, samosas, plantain chips, spring rolls, doughnuts, pakora and bhajis.

Batter-coated and breadcrumb-coated foods include any bought-in or homemade products such as chicken nuggets, fish fingers, battered onion rings and tempura.

Pastry includes shortcrust, flaky, filo, choux and puff, used in quiches, meat pies, fruit pies, fruit tarts, sausage rolls, pasties and samosa.

Desserts, cakes and biscuits, snacks and confectionery:
Desserts include cereal and starch based desserts such as rice, semolina, tapioca pudding, fruit-based desserts such as jelly, fruit compote, crumbles, and sponge puddings, vegetable-based desserts such as soya-based mousse, egg-based desserts such as ready to eat products and products prepared from egg such as flans, egg custard, custard fillings in pies, meringues, dairy-based desserts such as puddings with dairy-based fillings, fruit or flavoured yoghurt or other fermented milk and/or milk products, ice cream, mousse and fat-based desserts, such as ice cream, made with vegetable fats.

Cakes and biscuits include manufactured, bought-in products and prepared from scratch cakes and biscuits such as individual cakes, buns and pastries, scones, sweet and savoury biscuits.

‘Snacks’ means pre-packaged items other than confectionery, sandwiches, cakes or biscuits, which are ready to eat without further preparation and which consist of or include as a basic ingredient potato, cereals, soya, nuts, seeds, fruit or vegetables.

Confectionery includes cereal bars, processed fruit bars, non-chocolate confectionary (whether or not containing sugar), chocolate in any form (except hot chocolate), any product containing or wholly or partially coated with chocolate and any chocolate-flavoured substance. Cocoa is permitted.

Condiments include tomato ketchup, brown sauce, salad cream, mayonnaise, French dressing, mustard, pickles and relishes.


Are products that are batter-coated or breadcrumb-coated but not deep-fried restricted?
Yes – to two products per week, including home-made versions, and foods flash-fried during manufacture. So if your school provides homemade breaded fish and chips on a Friday as part of its lunch menu, this counts as your two deep-fried, breaded or battered items for the week.

On days where we provide a deep-fried product as part of lunch, we provide a vegetarian deep-fried alternative. Does this count as one portion?
Yes – where one deep-fried, batter-coated or breadcrumb-coated food is offered at the same time as a direct alternative to another. For example, providing breaded chicken nuggets, breaded vegetable nuggets and chips at lunchtime counts as two deep-fried or coated items – because the vegetable nuggets are a direct alternative to the chicken nuggets, and pupils can only choose one of these.

It’s good practice to have other options for pupils to choose from too, so they don’t have to have a deep-fried or coated food for their lunch.

On days where we provide a meat pie as part of lunch, we provide a halal meat pie or Quorn™ meat pie as an alternative. Does this count as one pastry-containing food?
Yes. When one food including pastry is offered at the same time as a direct alternative which also contains pastry, this counts as one portion – like where a QuornTM pie is offered as a vegetarian alternative to a chicken pie on the same day at lunchtime.

It’s good practice to offer pupils other options too, so they don’t have to choose a dish containing pastry for their lunch.