When my children were growing up, we would eat out as a family at most once a week, if that, as a special ‘treat’.
When we did go out, I hoped I was informed enough on healthy eating to help my children make reasonably good choices, but it would sometimes be difficult to identify the best option.
Today, eating out is less of a rarity and the choices people make when dining out impact on their overall diet, their overall health and wellbeing.
Australians are going to restaurants, pubs, clubs and fast food outlets more than ever before; on average, two to three times a week.
With these venues being such an integral part of a family’s weekly dining, it is important to ensure people have all the information they need to assess the choices they are making – particularly when it comes to their children’s meals.
And we know people want that information. A survey of Canberrans found 60 per cent would like healthier choices to be more available when they are out and about.
Healthier Choices Canberra
This is where the Healthier Choices Canberra program comes in.
Healthier Choices Canberra is all about making it easier for Canberrans to find tasty, fresh and healthier food and drink options when they eat out, buy their groceries, visit an entertainment venue, or when watching or playing junior sports.
The program increases the number of healthier options available to families and makes it easier for customers to spot them. Eating a variety of healthy foods is essential for good health and helps prevent disease.
Canberra Business Chamber is partnering with the ACT Government to deliver the Healthier Choices Canberra program and help roll it out to participating businesses.
At least 40 businesses have already signed up to the program varying from supermarkets to clubs, cafes, restaurants and entertainment and sports venues.
A 2016 trial of Healthier Choices, in which five local businesses took part, found benefits for consumers, the participating businesses and the community as a whole.
The business sector has been a great supporter of this program as it wants to positively contribute to the health of our city.
Look for the Healthier Choices symbol
Changes being made by businesses range from highlighting healthier options, through to changing menus to include healthier, competitively priced choices for kids. The Healthier Choices symbol tells consumers which options are best for them.
It is voluntary to participate in the program and those businesses that take part receive nutrition information and advice along with promotional materials which are bright, bold and contemporary to help promote the healthier choices.
For dining venues, at least half of the children’s meal options must be healthier for the club, café or restaurant to get the Healthier Choices Canberra tick of approval.
If consumers are looking for healthier choices, they need to look out for the Healthier Choices symbol and get behind the local businesses trying to make it easier for families to make healthier purchasing decisions.