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Drawing on a multiple case design, this study examines the role of physical structures in the implementation of national guidelines for healthy school meals at three Norwegian schools. Findings suggest that the degree of implementation of the guidelines was influenced by types of consumer product, facilities in buildings and regulation of access to neighbourhood facilities. Further, lack of adequate canteen facilities influenced the selection of food on offer, food safety and capacity. Students seeking an alternative to the traditional packed lunch were generally forced to eat their lunch away from the school.