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Healthier drinks

Healthier drinks include water, low-fat milk, fruit juice and combinations of these.

What is specified in this standard?
The only drinks provided should be those described under the What drinks can I provide section below. Or see the drinks table (Adobe pdf doc 69KB).

Why this standard needs to be in place

  • To remove drinks from school which have no nutritional value and can cause tooth decay.
  • To encourage children to drink water or drinks such as milk and fruit or vegetable juices, which provide important nutrients like calcium, vitamin C and carotenoids.

What drinks can I provide?

  • Plain drinks like water, (still or carbonated), fruit juice, vegetable juice, low-fat milk, (milk with a fat content of no more than 1.8 per cent), plain soya, rice or oat drinks enriched with calcium and plain yoghurt drinks. For further clarification please see the list and definition of drinks permitted in schools or drinks table (Adobe pdf doc 69KB).
  • Combinations of water, (still or carbonated) and fruit and vegetable juice. These combination drinks must contain at least 50 per cent juice, no added sugar and may contain vitamins or minerals.
  • Combinations of milk, (low-fat or lactose-reduced), or plain yoghurt, water, fruit or vegetable juice. In these combinations the milk or yoghurt must be at least 50 per cent by volume and the combined drink may contain vitamins and minerals. Less than 5 per cent sugar or honey may be added to the milk or yoghurt components.
  • Combinations of plain soya, rice or oat drink, water, fruit or vegetable juice. In these combinations the soya, rice or oat drink must be at least 50 per cent by volume, and the combined drink may contain vitamins and minerals. Less than 5 per cent sugar or honey may be added to the soya, rice or oat component.
  • Combinations of milk, (low-fat or lactose-reduced), plain yoghurt or plain soya, rice or oat drinks, (with or without plain water), with cocoa. In these combinations the milk, yoghurt, soya, rice or oat drink must be at least 50 per cent by volume and the combined drink may contain vitamins and minerals. Less than 5 per cent sugar or honey may be added to the milk, yoghurt, soya, rice or oat component. No colourings are permitted.

The above combination drinks are classified as non-alcoholic flavoured drinks under EU law and are allowed to contain the additives and flavourings as specified by Council Directive 89/107/EEC and Council Directive 88/388/EEC. For a full list download this drinks table (Adobe pdf doc 69KB).

Good practice
Provide drinks that are unsweetened, unfortified and additive free.
Provide drinks which do not contain preservatives, flavourings, colourings and sweeteners. This is in line with the original intention of the School Meals Review Panel, for children to drink pure drinks in schools which offer nutritional benefit. We have developed a voluntary code of practice for drinks provided in schools which encourages the provision of healthier drinks that are unsweetened and additive free wherever possible. Restrict access to sugar to add to hot drinks.

Serving suggestions

  • Offer a variety of fruit juices, such as apple, orange, pineapple or mixed juices.
  • Serve smoothies made from yoghurt and, or milk combined with fruit or fruit juice using a variety of fruits to introduce children to new flavours. Let the children watch and learn how to make them.
  • Offer a variety of fruit or plain lassis.
  • Chill drinks as they are more popular.

Does this standard apply across the school day?
Yes. Only the drinks listed in the drinks table (Adobe pdf doc 69KB) may be available during the school day.

Download
sft_summary_drinks_table.pdf
List and definition of drinks permitted in schools.