DepEd Order 13: Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and DepEd Offices

Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is vital in the development of children. Proper nutrition is essential to maintain a healthy immune system and prevent diseases. In addition, a healthy diet contributes to better mood and cognitive function. That’s why the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the DepEd Order (DO) 13, series (s.) 2017 to ensure school children and personnel have access to healthy and nutritious food and beverage choices.

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Through this policy, DepEd will restrict some food options in school canteens, such as those high in fats, sugar, and salt. Meanwhile, DepEd prohibits advertising and selling unhealthy food and beverages, from junk foods to soft drinks. Canteens in schools and DepEd offices should also follow the food color coding scheme to promote healthy food options. Thus, all canteens in schools and DepEd offices should comply with the guidelines of this order.

Deped Order 13 Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage in Schools and Deped Offices

What is DepEd Order 13

On March 14, 2017, the department issued DepEd Order 13, or the “Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and DepEd Offices”. This policy aims to promote and develop healthy eating habits among Filipino youth, including DepEd employees. In this order, DepEd enclosed guidelines on setting food standards and making affordable yet nutritious and healthy menu options for learners and personnel.

Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and in DepEd Offices


As per the World Health Organization (WHO), many countries, especially the developing ones, are facing a Double Burden of Malnutrition (DBM). It refers to undernutrition alongside overweight and obesity, causing early deaths and impairment in the brain and physical development of children. Due to the increasing number of overweight and obesity, many people worldwide are more likely to develop chronic and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) or lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and cancer.

These chronic diseases may be fatal, especially for those who have limited access to health systems. That’s why the Department of Education issued the DepEd Order (DO) 13, series (s.) 2017 to promote nutritious food choices at schools and in the community, reducing the risk of health problems and chronic diseases. This policy contains health promotion strategies that restrict the sale of food products high in fat, sugar, and salt and increase the availability of nutritious snacks and meals.


Since the department aims to promote healthy eating habits to learners and personnel, the following should implement the guidelines of DepEd Order 13:

 Also, DepEd encourages private schools to implement the policy and guidelines of this order.


With the implementation of the DepEd Order 13, the department aims to achieve the following:

 Make it possible for learners, DepEd personnel, and other stakeholders to access healthier food and beverages.

  • Establish a system that designates locally available food and drinks based on cultural, religious, and geographical orientations
  • Provide direction in categorizing and assessing foods and drinks
  • Provide direction in marketing and selling foods and beverages in all schools and DepEd offices, as well as buying foods for school feeding


A. Strategies to Implement

Food Standards
  • Schools should create a healthy menu to ensure the food and drinks they provide are affordable, nutritious, and comply with the guidelines approved by the Schools Division Superintendent (SDS).
  • The food and beverages in schools, learning centers, and DepEd offices’ canteen should follow the healthy diet requirements specified in Section IIIA.
  • Schools and DepEd offices canteens should not sell foods and beverages high in sodium, sugar, or fat. Instead, canteens should provide healthier fats by limiting foods high in saturated and trans fats and offering those with unsaturated fats.
  • Canteens in schools and DepEd offices should limit the daily intake of foods with high sugars to below 10% of total energy.
  • Canteens should limit the daily intake of sodium or salt to at least 500 mg and not exceed 800 mg per day.
  • Implement the Pinggang Pinoy plate-based food guide, which contains more fruits and vegetables, moderate energy and protein-rich foods, and less sugary and fatty foods or beverages.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts of each food and drink, which state the fat, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, and calorie content.
  • Assess the Nutrition Facts of food products in schools and DepEd offices with the Cut-Off Points shown below:

DepEd Order 13

  • Evaluate manufactured food products sold in school canteens using the Nutrition Facts Assessment Table below:

DepEd Order 13

  • Non-packaged foods and drinks sold in canteens, like cooked meals, Filipino snack foods, and those without Nutrition Facts, should be categorized using the following:

DepEd Order 13

DepEd Order 13

DepEd Order 13

  • When developing a healthy menu, evaluate the nutritional value of food and drinks by comparing the Green, Yellow, and Red categories.
Increasing the Availability and Accessibility of Healthy and Safe Foods
  • Canteens should ensure safe drinking water is always available
  • Local condiments or sauces, like fish and soy sauce, should not be available in the dining area or tables. Only serve these condiments when requested.
  • Schools should talk to parents and guardians and advise them to give healthy food and beverages to their children for consumption in schools (baon). Also, elementary, secondary, and senior high learners should not bring unhealthy food and drinks to school.
  • Schools and Offices may perform local initiative that promotes and support the consumption of healthy foods, like “Meatless Monday,” “Vegie-Tuesday,” “Native Wednesday,” “Fibrous Thursday,” and “Fishy Friday.”
  • All areas in the school where vendors serve food should comply with the following provisions of DO 10, s. 2016 or the Policy and Guidelines for the Comprehensive Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools (WinS) Program:
  • Ensure accessibility of safe, clean, and free drinking water
  • Provide hand-washing facilities
  • Ensure safe and proper food handling
  • Provide clean glasses, eating utensils, and plates
  • Exercise segregation and disposal of waste
  • Provide a conducive, safe, clean, well-lighted, and well-ventilated eating environment
  • All areas in the school where vendors serve food should contain signages that the premises only serve healthy food and drinks. In addition, there should be signages about nutrition messages, like the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF), Ten (10) Kumainments, and Pinggang Pinoy.
Regulating the Sale and Marketing of Unhealthy Foods
  • Marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children in schools and school activities should not be utilized, such as sponsorship, promotion, or advertising via branded refrigerators, vending machines, signages, tents, and umbrellas.
  • DepEd may support food and beverage manufacturers, given they comply with the criteria of this policy.
  • School officials should collaborate with local government units (LGUs) to issue legislation regarding the restriction of marketing healthy foods and beverages within the school’s 100-meter radius.
  • It’s prohibited to market Red Category foods and beverages in schools, education events, and DepEd offices through the following ways, but not limited to:
  • Brochures, comics, leaflets, posters, and other printed ads
  • Outdoor ads, like tarpaulin or billboards
  • Point of sale
  • Refrigerators or vending machines
  • New media (internet-based)
  • Branding
  • Characters
  • Free samples
  • Special events, such as feeding programs and sports activities
  • Thus, schools have three (3) months to remove or replace refrigerators and other facilities/equipment with a logo or brand name for unhealthy foods and beverages.

B. Capacity Building

Concerned DepEd offices from all levels should capacitate Regional and Division employees responsible for capacitating TLE and HE school teachers. Furthermore, schools should organize orientation activities to educate students, their parents, or guardians regarding nutritious food and beverage options to promote healthy eating habits in schools and at home.

C. Collaboration, Partnership, and Linkages

DepEd also recognized the importance of partners and key stakeholders in implementing the School Health and Nutrition Program. Nonetheless, authorities and personnel of DepEd and educational institutions must strictly comply with the ban on accepting sponsorships/donations and being involved financially or material with tobacco companies.

Additionally, DepEd prohibits the acceptance of sponsorship, funding, material, or financial incentives from any company manufacturing/marketing infant formula and milk substitutes. Generally, DepEd does not allow any partnership or sponsorship in conflict of interest with this policy.

D. Other Strategies to Promote Healthy Weight

  • This policy encourages Regional Offices (ROs) and Schools Division Offices (SDOs) to establish programs that support nutritious diet and physical activities for school children and their employees.
  • Schools should also promote and offer opportunities to encourage students to be active, such as 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intense physical activity daily.
  • The K to 12 curriculum and other school activities and events should include healthy diets, wellness, and physical activity.
  • School nurses should conduct health talks to help students who are overweight and obese manage their condition and encourage them to perform more physical activities.

DepEd Order 22 Full Memo Download

To access and download the complete PDF of DepEd Order No. 13, series of 2017, a direct link is available on this page. By clicking the download button below, you can easily obtain a copy of DepEd Order 22in PDF format.

Full PDF DepEd 13 memo file:

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Video: DepEd to strictly implement color-coding of food and beverages in schools

As stated in the video, DepEd released a color-coding scheme to guide school canteens on the type of foods and beverages they can sell to children. The report states that DepEd orders school canteens to ensure healthy menu planning and cleanliness in cooking and serving food for the safety of students. DepEd and DOH reminded schools to prepare healthy and nutritious food to prevent diseases. Based on the guidelines of DepEd Order 13, schools should implement the color-coding of food and beverage choices.

In the color coding scheme, the Green category foods should always be available in school canteens, such as fruits and vegetables. The Yellow category foods, such as burgers, pancakes, hotdogs, and chicken, should only be available twice a week. On the other hand, the Red category or those that lack nutrients, like soft drinks and junk foods, should not be sold in school canteens. Hence, the DepEd Order 13 series 2017 will benefit school children and DepEd personnel.


Although the policy seems to interfere with someone’s liberty on what they can eat or not, the DepEd Order 13 series 2017 will benefit their health in the long run. This policy encloses guidelines regarding healthy food and beverage options in schools and DepEd offices, aiming to prevent the development of health conditions and chronic illnesses. Therefore, all concerned and other stakeholders should ensure the strict implementation of this policy and its guidelines.

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