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Businesses urged to focus on healthier menus for kids

healthy menu for kids
Elsie and Eden from Elliott Heads State School trying fresh strawberries at the CQU Pick of the Crop exhibit.

Local cafés and restaurants are encouraged to offer healthier menus for children as part of the Healthy Kids Menu initiative launched by Health and Wellbeing Queensland.

It comes after the organisations involvement with the Building a Healthy Bundaberg Alliance, which focuses on new ways to educate, support, guide and encourage the regional community to place a greater emphasis on health.

The alliance is made up of support from Bundaberg Regional Council, Health and Wellbeing Queensland and the Queensland Government in partnership with several other peak health bodies, local community groups and organisations including CQUniversity.

Recently, the alliance was involved in the implementation of the Pick of the Crop initiative, which aimed to develop individual school action plans to enhance student’s learning about vegetables and fruit.

HWQs Chief Executive Dr Robyn Littlewood said now it was time for food venues to become part of supporting a healthier lifestyle for children by offering healthy menus for families.

“Queensland is a great place to eat out as a family and through Healthy Kids Menu, it will become even easier for parents to ensure their children are eating highly nutritious meals they can choose themselves,” Dr Littlewood said.

“We know that childhood obesity is a significant problem, with one in four Queensland children overweight or obese.

“Good nutrition and a balanced diet are essential to helping children grow up healthy, and given the amount of food and drink consumed outside of the home, venues can be a positive force for helping to set kids up with healthy eating habits for life.”

Benefits for all involved in Healthy Kids Menu

Dr Littlewood said becoming a Healthy Kids Menu Venue was not only good for children, it was also good for business.

“Healthy Kids Menu is a great opportunity for cafés and restaurants to tell a really positive story about their menus which may attract new customers, provide access to new promotion opportunities, and support the health of Queensland kids,” she said.

“Most importantly, we want to recognise you for doing this.”

Restaurants and cafés who opt in to the initiative will have access to practical and user-friendly guidelines and resources which make it easy to adapt their menus and serve great-tasting, healthier food and drink options to children.

Matt Golinski, celebrity chef and HWQld’s healthy food ambassador said even small actions could make a menu healthier.

“Creating a healthier menu doesn’t have to be hard. Simple actions like switching cooking oils to canola oil or olive oil, reducing the salt in recipes, or using vegetables as a key ingredient instead of a side, can have a huge impact on children’s health without affecting day to day business,” he said.

Through the Queensland Healthy Kids Menu, venues will also have the opportunity to apply for the 2021 Healthy Kids Menu Awards through Restaurant and Catering Industry Australia.

Learn more about becoming a Healthy Kids Menu Venue here.