Catering to children?  We’re here to help

We're calling on chefs to offer healthier options to children, but we're not asking you to do it alone. We're here to help.

The Heart Foundation is calling on New Zealand cafés and restaurants to improve their children’s menus, with research showing that customers are seeking healthier options when dining out.

One business that has already responded to the call is Scenic Hotel Group, which is developing a new children’s menu to be used in its 18 hotels across New Zealand and the Pacific.

“As a group, we are committed to being a leader in responsible tourism,” says Virna Smith, Group Marketing Manager. “Children are our future. Children develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy so the challenge is to ensure the choices they make at a young age will shape their food preferences into adulthood.”

A simple way for food services to improve kids’ menus is to offer smaller portions of healthy adult dishes to children. We'd The Heart Foundation would also like to see more vegetables available in main meals for children, and salad or colourful vegetables on the side of others.

Water and milk remain the healthiest drink options.

There is evidence that restaurant operators who have focused on developing healthy kids’ meals are reaping the rewards in terms of new business. This is in line with a clear trend identified in the Restaurant Association of New Zealand’s Hospitality Report 2014, that consumers are increasingly seeking healthy food options when dining out. The latest American Express Dining Survey also shows strong public support for eateries to provide more nutritional food to children.

To help chefs improve children’s menus, the Heart Foundation will be providing tools such as recipes, tips and menu guidelines.

Any food services interested in getting support from the Heart Foundation can contact Andrea Bidois (AndreaB@heartfoundation.org.nz) or Asher Regan (AsherR@heartfoundation.org.nz).