All school canteens in ACT will need to be registered as food businesses and have to review their menus once a year under a new food and drink policy for Canberra schools.
School canteens will also be required to enter into a standardised licensing agreement by the end of the year.
The standardised licences means all canteens will have to abide by a "traffic-light" food ranking system, which ranks food as red, amber or green according to nutritional value.
Canteens will not be allowed to sell "red" food or drinks that are low in nutritional value and fibre and may be high in saturated fats, added sugar or salt. "Red" drinks include soft drinks, energy drinks and coffee-style beverages while food includes cakes, confectionary and fried items.
Under the new policy, school canteens will have their menus reviewed annually by an external agency that will assess the food and drinks on offer against national healthy school canteen guidelines.
Education and Training Minister Joy Burch said the new ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy, which was launched on Friday, would encourage children to eat more green or healthy foods and less amber or red food.
Amber foods should be eaten in moderation and are considered to have some valuable nutrients but may have moderate amounts of saturated fat, sugar, salt or are low in fibre.
"It's really important, we think, to start from the get go with our children about healthy lifestyle and healthy eating," Ms Burch said at Friday's launch at Namadgi School.
"It is absolutely important that not only do we provide good bricks and mortar for education, the best teachers that we can find but it's a whole of life approach to learning and healthy lifestyle and healthy food is absolutely critical."
Heart Foundation ACT chief executive Tony Stubbs said the policy would aid in addressing levels of childhood obesity in the territory.
"Modifying the food supply in schools is a practical way we can influence our children's eating habits and, in turn, their health," he said.
The ACT government moved to ban vending machines and the sale of sugary drinks at public schools last year.
Under the policy, all public schools will have two water refill stations installed and each student will be issued with reusable drink bottles.
It was rolled out at primary schools last year and will happen at secondary schools and colleges early this year.