Healthy eating has an essential role to play in preventing CVD. With a quarter of the food eaten by Irish adults prepared and cooked outside of the home, workplaces can play a key part in offering healthier food choices.
The objective of the Healthy Eating Award programme is to assist a staff restaurant to adopt healthier cooking practices and provide healthier food choices, without incurring substantial cost – it may even save money.
Recommendations given to the catering manager meet the Irish Heart Foundation and the Department of Health’s Healthy Eating Guidelines.
Bronze, Silver and Gold Healthy Eating Awards now available
New workplaces and existing Award recipients can now expand their programmes to ensure that heart-healthy options are provided and promoted to employees.
Companies can apply for Bronze, Silver or Gold levels but must meet specific criteria. This new approach further increases standards in healthy catering and menus. It builds on the success already achieved over the programme’s twenty years.
The new Silver and Gold criteria reflect all areas of healthy eating recommendations, covering fat, fibre, fruit and vegetables, salt and sugar and focuses on the areas that give employees the best impact for a healthier diet.
Examples of Silver criteria are that oily fish is offered at least twice a week, at least two days per week are chip-free, and that calories are displayed on the hot lunch menu.
Examples of Gold criteria are that fish is offered at least 50% of the week on the hot and/or cold menu, at least three days per week are chip-free, and that calories are displayed on all menu options.
How to apply for a Healthy Eating Award
These are the 5 steps to achieving a Healthy Eating award:
Register for the Award by emailing Triona Keane at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 668 5001. The Irish Heart Foundation will send a co-ordinator guide and provide you with support and guidance on how to achieve the award.
Set up a Healthy Eating Award team to co-ordinate the programme and ensure support and commitment from management and employees, raise awareness amongst employees and conduct a self-assessment of existing menus and catering practices.
A catering audit will be undertaken by an Irish Heart Foundation dietitian on a pre-arranged date. This involves an independent assessment of overall food choice, counter layout, food preparation practices and menus.
This review looks at recommendations to reduce fat, sugar and salt and to increase fibre, fruit and vegetables and assess portion sizes. Employee comments are collected through informal lunchtime conversations.
The dietitian offers feedback to the caterer, and discusses the required changes to work on together.
A monitoring visit by the Irish Heart Foundation dietitian takes place on an agreed date about 6-8 weeks later. The purpose of this visit is to check implementation of recommendations and to confirm certification status.
The Award! Following a successful monitoring visit, the workplace is awarded the Happy Heart at Work Healthy Eating Award. A framed certificate is sent to the successful company and each workplace is invited to celebrate their achievement at an annual awards ceremony.
The Award is valid for two years.
€525 in total. This covers the two company visits – the catering audit and monitoring visit – as well as all the dietitian advice and recommendations for your company.
Note: a recertification visit after two years is €200
Healthy Workplace – Resources