Home-style canteen food without cooking

P&C Council has long been asking for ways to make it easier for time-strapped canteens to provide healthier foods. Some new players have stepped up to the challenge, supplying healthier options your canteen – and customers – will love.

T42016rearpicNutri-Ys meals

Nurti-Ys food services, run by the YMCA of Canberra, are now providing tasty, ‘Green’ meals for ACT canteens. The home-style meals are designed to boost vegetable intake and are made from fresh ingredients without additives or preservatives – just what you might like to cook in your own canteen, but may not have the time!

The meals are made in YMCA’s kitchens, packaged in single serves, frozen, and delivered to your canteen. They can be heated in the sealed packaging so they are a quick and easy way to add home-style meals to your menu. All are classified as Green on the food traffic-light system.

Best of all, they are really tasty (one lucky Council staff member got to try them), tasting much more like home-cooked meals than processed frozen food. There is a tasty, but mild, curry of vegetables with chicken or beef curry, served on rice, a lovely lasagne and a macaroni cheese full of added vegetables.

The meals are a great way to add variety to your canteen menu, without extra work, or would be great as a “special of the day”. They cost $3.50 (delivery included) and the serves are generous and satisfying. To order, register for an account at www.canberra.ymca.org.au/Nutri-Ys.

Better bites

Also stepping in to help canteens provide better food for students is Nutrition Australia, through their new selection of healthier rolls and hamburger patties under the BetterBites brand.

The products are designed and tested by qualified nutritionists to make sure they meet the Green or Amber criteria of the National Guidelines. At the moment there are three products:

  • Burger patties (box of 22 for $38.50) made from lean beef mince with a delicate blend of fresh vegetables, garlic and herbs, and free from gluten, egg, soy and dairy. Classified Green.
  • Handcrafted sausage rolls (box of 18 for $34.20) with beef, pork, fresh vegetables, garlic and herbs in flaky reduced-fat puff pastry. Classified Amber
  • Spinach and ricotta rolls (box of 18 for $34.20) with 28% real spinach, combined with ricotta, feta, onion and garlic to give maximum flavour, and all wrapped up in puff pastry and sprinkled with poppy seeds. They are vegetarian and rated Amber.

We were lucky enough to try these products too, and they really are yum, especially the spinach and ricotta rolls. The kids will love them!

More good news - all proceeds from the sale of Betterbites products go toward local nutrition education programs. Find out more, or order now, from www.betterbites.org.au. They deliver to any ACT address (free for orders over $100).


This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 4, 2016. See other past editions of our quarterly magazine.