About the Healthy Catering Award Scheme
Did you know that the food eaten ‘out of home’ contributes a high percentage of our overall calorie intake, making it much more challenging to maintain a healthy weight? At least 1 in 5 children eat from food outlets outside the home each week, and these foods are very often much higher in fat, sugar and salt and lower in nutrients, with meal deals popular for our budgets.
In Darlington we want every child and citizen to flourish, and one way we can support a healthy weight, and better health outcomes for everyone is by making it easier to choose healthier foods and drinks when eating outside of the home.
This is why Darlington Borough Council has developed healthy catering award scheme for businesses and settings where food is served/consumed outside of the home.
Most settings which serve food to the public are eligible for the awards, including restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, workplaces, hospitals, schools and early years settings.
Some examples of how healthier options will be achieved in practice
- Using healthier cooking practices e.g. grilling instead of frying
- Promoting and increasing fruits, vegetables and wholegrains
- Decreasing levels of fat, sugar and salt in food/drink
- Increasing healthier options for children
- Using techniques to encourage children to enjoy and accept healthy options such as fruits and vegetables and healthier drinks on the menus
Why healthy eating matters
Research by The Food Standards Agency indicated that customers would like more healthy choices, and being able to access healthy options ‘out of home’ would influence them to eat healthier.
Obesity is an increasing epidemic in the UK and is suggested to contribute to more than 30,000 deaths a year in England. We know that an improved diet is linked to healthy weight and decreased risks of heart disease, diabetes type 2 and some cancers.
Tooth decay is a concern for our children, and lowering the amount of sugar consumed can support better dental health. As such, it’s more important than ever for 'out of home' food to make it easier for everyone to eat healthy.