Policy: Food availability through Council-operated venues and functions

Council facilities are well placed to provide a significant contribution to promoting health and healthy eating – making the healthy choice the easy choice. Consider establishing corporate policies for healthy catering at:

  • Sporting and recreation facilities (such as swimming pools, sporting grounds and gymnasiums)
  • Sporting, recreation, cultural and other events and festivals, starting with council-run or -sponsored events, and events at council-owned facilities (such as swimming carnivals at council pools)
  • Council administration building/s and other facilities (such as botanical gardens)
  • Council can also manage the foods sold from vending machines at council venues, and through health licensing.

Council facilities can differ from takeaway outlets because they can be in the unique position of being part of the education environment. For example, students may attend a council swimming facility for health and physical education classes or sports days. This environment provides an excellent opportunity to reinforce education about nutrition and healthy eating in a practical way.

It is important to encourage the consumption of food that positively influences health and will establish healthy eating habits for the future. This includes the responsible service of alcohol. Ideally, venues should support the nutrition messages of Queensland Health, Department of Education and Training and the Heart Foundation.

Providing a consistent message across council facilities is a simple, low-cost strategy that models healthy eating to a broad spectrum of the community. A communication strategy could include:

  • Collaboration with council on food hygiene and safety seminars
  • Providing fresh local produce and health promotion activities at community events
  • Promoting local venues that provide a wide range of healthy eating options
  • Producing a ‘seasonal guide to local fruit and vegetables’ calendar

Other sources of information

  • A Better Choice Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy (A Better Choice): aims to make healthier choices easier by providing a framework to ensure foods and drinks of good nutritional quality are supplied in Queensland Health facilities. Additional information includes healthy catering guidelines for meetings and functions, checklist and recipes (seehttp://www.health.qld.gov.au/health_professionals/food/abetterchoice.asp)
  • Food for Sport: A Guide to Healthy Food and Drink Supply in Sporting Clubs, aims to make healthier choices easier by providing voluntary guidelines to assist sporting clubs supply foods and drinks of good nutritional quality.  To aid the six steps of the process, checklists, sample menus and tips are just some of the resources available (seehttp://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/industry-information/clubs/food-sport/)
  • A Healthier You: a Queensland Health website containing information on healthy eating, food safety, food supply, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and has links to other related websites (seehttp://www.health.qld.gov.au/healthieryou/)
  • Go for 2&5® Campaign: a social marketing campaign designed to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables to improve nutrition and reduce the risk of major preventable diseases.
  • Good Sports: is a program that supports community sporting clubs to be safe, healthy and family friendly environments. It aims to reduce alcohol and other drug problems, increase the viability of sporting clubs and improve the range and quality of sport options available within the community (see http://www.goodsports.com.au/)
  • Hawkesbury Food Program: Hawkesbury City Council and Hawkesbury District Health introduced the Hawkesbury Food Program which uses a community development approach for its strategies. Its strategies tend to be community driven, so there are many participants involved in each initiative. Program elements include:
    • Participation in Sydney’s Fresh Fruit Bowl Network to establish links between ‘Healthy Catchments, Healthy Food, Healthy People’ highlighting the importance of agriculture in the region
    • A media strategy through radio, local, state and national newspapers
    • Strategy monitoring and evaluation through monthly and annual reports, by a steering committee and partners (seehttp://www.hawkesbury.net.au/community/178.html)
  • Healthy Living: a Heart Foundation website containing information on healthy eating and drinking, physical activity, healthy weight and healthy kids (seehttp://www.heartfoundation.org.au/Healthy_Living/Pages/default.aspx)
  • Swimmingly Good Food: this Queensland Association of School Tuckshops Inc   project was part of The Eat Well Be Active Community Partnerships Program. As a result of the program, some changes were made to canteen foods, such as the introduction of fruit muffins, changing slushie machines to use fruit juice instead of cordial, and offering healthy snack packs (for example yoghurt, fruit juice, cheese and crackers). Some venues also introduced the ‘green, amber and red’ labelling to assist in identifying healthy food choices and informative fact sheets were provided.  Contact the Queensland Association of School Tuckshop on (07) 3324 1511 for more information.
  • The Penrith Food Project: a website containing comprehensive details of this project including issues papers, goals, objectives, achievements in the first three years and other health and healthy eating projects (see http://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/_templates/StandardTemplate.aspx?id=46079)

Case Studies