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DepEd Order: No More Softdrinks, French Fries in School Canteens
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  • Public school canteens have now been ordered by the Department of Education (DepEd) to stop selling powdered juice drinks, chocolate, soft drinks, instant noodles, fish balls, chips or chichiria, among others. 

    The Department of Education (DepEd) has released an order, dated March 17 and signed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, that details new guidelines for public school canteens, which private schools are encouraged to adopt. The reason behind the order cites the latest National Nutrition Survey from 2014 where 29.1% of children aged 5 to 10 years old are underweight, 29.9% are stunted, 9.1% are overweight, and 8.6% has low weight for his height.

    To implement the order, DepEd is categorizing foods by color. Foods in the GREEN category  should always be available in the canteen, YELLOW are for foods that should be served sparingly, and RED is for foods not to sell in the canteen. The nutrition label found on the back of food packages serves as a guide in categorizing food, says DepEd. 

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    “These foods and drinks are the best choices for a healthy school canteen as they contain a wide range of nutrients and are generally low in saturated and trans fat, sugar and salt,” says the guidelines.

    Foods in this category have per serving nutrition labels that read: 

    • Less than 3 grams of saturated fat
    • Less than 10 grams of added sugar
    • Less than 120 mg of sodium
    • No trans fat

    For Pinoy common snack foods without nutrition labels, DepEd includes these as under the Green category:


    • milk (unsweetened)
    • water (nothing added)
    • fresh buko water (unsweetened)

    Go foods (energy-giving)

    • milled rice
    • brown rice
    • corn
    • whole wheat bread
    • cassava (kamoteng kahoy)
    • boiled sweet potato (kamote)
    • boiled saging na saba
    • corn, binatog
    • boiled peanuts
    • suman
    • puto

    Grow foods (body-building)

    • fishes
    • shellfish
    • small shrimps
    • lean meats
    • chicken without skin
    • nuts
    • egg

    Glow foods (body-regulating)

    • fresh fruits
    • green, leafy and yellow vegetables
    What other parents are reading

    Foods in this category should be served carefully, according to the guidelines, as they do contain nutrients but are also quite high in fat, sugar or salt. “These may be served once or twice a week only (Tuesdays and Thursdays), in smaller servings, and should be less prominent in the canteen menu.” 

    Foods in this category have per serving nutrition labels that read: 

    • 3 to 5 grams of saturated fat 
    • 10 to 20 grams of added sugar
    • 120 mg to 200 mg of sodium
    • No trans fat

    For Pinoy common snack foods, DepEd includes these as under the Yellow category:


    • 100% fresh fruit juices

    Go foods (energy-giving)

    • fried rice
    • white bread
    • biscuits
    • banana cue, camote cue, turon, maruya
    • pancakes
    • waffles
    • champorado
    • pancit
    • arroz caldo
    • sandwiches (cheese, egg, chicken filling, etc.)
    • butter, margarine, mayonnaise (use sparingly)

    Grow foods (body-building)

    • hotdogs
    • burger patties
    • chicken nuggets
    • tocino
    • tapa
    • sausage
    • and other processed meat products

    Glow foods (body-regulating)

    • stir-fried vegetables
    What other parents are reading

    Foods in this category “should not be served in healthy school canteens,” says DepEd, as they contain high amounts of saturated fat, sugar or salt. They may also provide excess calories. “Consumption of these foods and drinks outside school premises is at the discretion of their parents,” the order says. 

    Foods in this category have per serving nutrition labels that read: 

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    • More than 5 grams of saturated fat
    • More than 20 grams of added sugar
    • More than 200 mg of sodium
    • Contains trans fat no matter the amount

    For Pinoy common snack foods, DepEd includes these as under the Red category:


    • soft drinks
    • powdered juice drinks
    • sports and energy drinks
    • flavored or sweetened mineral water
    • any product containing caffeine (for school canteens)
    • any processed fruit juice with more than 20 grams of added sugar per serving

    Go foods (Energy-giving)

    • ice cream, ice drops, ice candies
    • cakes, donuts, sweet biscuits, pastries and other sweet bakery products
    • chocolates, candy, chewing gum, marshmallows, lollipops, yema, etc.
    • French fries, bicho-bicho, etc.
    • instant noodles
    • chips or chichiria and all types of heavily salted snacks

    Grow foods (body-building)

    • chicharon
    • chicken skin
    • bacon
    • fish balls, kikiams and other deep-fried foods

    Glow foods (body-regulating)

    • fruits canned in heavy syrup
    • sweetened or deep-fried fruits and vegetables

    The guidelines also recommend ways to make canteen-cooked food healthier. These can be applicable at home as well.  

    • Use cooking methods that require little to no oil (boiling, steaming, pan frying, etc.). 
    • Remove visible fat from meat and skin from poultry. 
    • Use natural herbs and spices (like garlic, onion, ginger, etc.). 
    • Lessen added condiments (toyo, patis, MSG, etc.) and not make them readily available in dining areas.
    • Use iodized salt in place of plain salt. 

    Parents, you're also advised by the guidelines to provide healthy packed snacks and lunches to your school kids. Check the nutrition label of your child's baon and avoid packing food in the RED category. 

    You can find information on the Food and Nutrition Research Institute's Pinggang Pinoy (recommended meal serving amounts for Filipino kids and adults), and a guide how to read nutrition labels enclosed in the guidelines, which is published in full here

    What other parents are reading

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