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Healthy Games catering helps promote healthy eating

Yvonne Traynor, NHS healthyliving award

Yvonne Traynor of the healthyliving award explains how Glasgow 2014 offered healthy catering options to make it easier for their customers to eat more healthily.

The healthyliving award (HLA) started planning for the Games over a year in advance, with our involvement in the development of the Glasgow 2014 Food Charter.

The charter provided guidance to suppliers, including caterers, to meet the standards that underpin Games commitments. One strand of this is healthy eating, and we worked with a wide range of caterers to encourage them to meet award status in the run-up to the Games.  The healthyliving award recognises caterers for providing and promoting healthier food choices and makes it easier for you to know that healthier food is available when you eat out.

The area of work I was most involved in was working in partnership with Festival 2014. We aimed to encourage the caterers that would be trading in the Food Village at the Glasgow Green Live Zone to achieve the HLA. The concept of healthy catering was embraced by Festival 2014 who included holding or working towards the award as criteria in the 'invitation to quote' document.

This led to me and other members of the team working with around 15 mobile caterers, mostly via email and telephone, on the lead up to the opening ceremony.

Most traders embraced the award and saw the opportunities holding a HLA could bring them. In fact it became apparent that many of the traders were already using healthier ingredients and cooking methods and needed only a little guidance from us to achieve the award.

In the few days prior to the opening ceremony, myself and a few colleagues spent time with the traders on site at Glasgow Green to ensure the traders that already held awards were quality assured, and that the traders new to the award had full assessments. This included looking in detail at their menu, catering practices, ingredients, ensuring than 50% of their menu options were healthier, and that their award status was promoted to the customer.

The day the Commonwealth Games began 12 of the mobile food units in the Zone had achieved an award. The food on offer was delicious and healthy and ranged from pizzas, to sushi, to seafood, to chicken and lamb skewers and venison burgers.

This was a fantastic event to be part of. It was an extremely busy time for these traders and I would like to congratulate all the award holders.

Hundreds of thousands of people visited Glasgow Green throughout the Games and these traders made sure that people could easily find something healthy to eat.

These mobile units will continue to hold the award for two years, ensuring a legacy of healthier food options as they trade at festivals and other events across the length and breadth of the country for months and years to come.