Getting started

Your organisation can make a big difference when it comes to healthy eating!

Whether you are a smaller organisation providing catering at meetings and events, or a larger organisation with vending machines or even a retail outlet, you can help staff and visitors to be healthier and happier.

By offering foods and drinks that follow the Healthy Choices guidelines, you can help improve wellbeing for your staff and visitors and promote your organisation as a healthy eating leader in your industry.

The steps below will help you to get started.

There’s a lot to do and you may face some challenges along the way, so start wherever will be easiest for you. Many small changes can add up to big differences over time.

As you work through your plan to increase healthy eating, you’ll find lots of helpful resources and information on this website to support the changes you need to make.

Check out this 'Getting started' checklist for more support!


Seek leadership and commitment from your organisation

Healthy eating is not a job for just one person! In fact, everyone has a role to play.

Enlist support and leadership from the management team in your organisation. This will help you to make sustainable and organisation wide healthy changes. Encouraging managers to be actively involved in healthy eating changes will give you a kick start and provide great role modelling for other staff too.

Try these ideas:

  • appoint a leader or a champion to raise awareness and interest in healthy eating
  • organise a committee or a health and wellbeing team to drive healthy changes
  • create a health promotion charter which outlines your commitment to health and wellbeing. Contact the Achievement Program for assistance and more information.
  • provide enough time, resourcing and support for healthy changes to take place (for example, allocate a health promotion staff member to work with your vending supplier or retail outlet).


Negotiating challenges

Making changes to your food and drink service can be challenging to navigate at times and you may encounter different issues as you proceed with your Healthy Choices journey. For information on common challenges and tips for overcoming these click here to access our fact sheet. 

In addition, if you are finding it hard to navigate a particular issue contact us! We are the experts in implementing Healthy Choices and have helped many health services successfully implement changes to their retail food service, vending and catering.


Register with the Achievement Program

Joining the Victorian Government’s Achievement Program and working through the healthy eating best-practice benchmarks is a great way to show leadership and commitment to improving healthy eating within your organisation.

The Achievement Program gives you an evidence-based framework to create a healthy environment that supports the health and wellbeing of everyone in your organisation. Once your register with the Achievement Program, you can access their online portal for a range of tools, resources and to receive the support you need along the way.

Go to the Achievement Program for more information and to register.


Develop a healthy eating policy

A commitment to healthy eating which is reflected in your organisation’s policies is an essential step.

It will help to ensure that offering healthier foods and drinks will be accepted by everyone in the organisation.

The Achievement Program requires workplaces to have an up to date healthy eating policy which is applied across the organisation.

See Organisational policy and supplier contracts for help with developing your policy.


Engage with food service providers

Getting your food service providers on board with your ideas around healthy eating is one of the most important things to do when it comes to making changes to the meals, snacks and drinks which are offered. This applies to retail outlets, catering services and vending suppliers.

Talk with your providers about:

  • what they can do to meet the Healthy Choices guidelines
  • what the benefits are to them
  • how other organisations have successfully implemented the Healthy Choices guidelines.

There’s also a free interactive online training module they can complete to understand the Healthy Choices guidelines.


Train food service providers and staff

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service offers free online training to help retail food outlets and caterers learn about providing healthy foods and drinks. It is a good idea to encourage any outlets or caterers that you work with to undertake this training. The sessions discuss:

  • the Healthy Choices guidelines
  • making foods healthier (for example, swapping ingredients, modifying recipes and using healthier cooking methods)
  • sourcing healthier products
  • promoting and marketing healthier meals, snacks and drinks
  • links with the Achievement Program.

The training is for anyone who is involved in providing foods and drinks through retail food outlets or catering services (e.g. caterers, chefs and cooks). There’s also an online training module for point of sale staff.

For more information go to Training.

Prioritise and make changes

Start making healthy changes to your menu. Ideally these changes are based on what you have learnt in the training workshop or online module. The best way to start is by making simple changes which will have a big impact.

Go to Priorities and simple changes for information about prioritising and making changes to the food and drinks you offer.

Surveying your staff, customers, or visitors can give you insight into their needs and provide helpful direction on where you can make successful changes. You can download our Pre-implementation survey template (.doc) and our Pre-implementation survey data analysis spreadsheet template (.xls) to assist you with this (created with the help of Deakin University).

Conducting a survey after you have implemented changes can also be a great way to receive feedback on the changes you have made and to measure your success. You can download our Post-implementation survey template (.doc) and our Post-implementation survey data analysis spreadsheet template (.xls) to assist you with this.

Communicating changes to your key stakeholders is important to ensure everyone knows what you are doing and why! Click here to read the 'Communicating change' fact sheet.


Assess your menu

Use our online menu assessment tools to assess your retail outlet menu, catering menu or vending machines. This assessment will help to ensure that you offer a good balance of healthy foods and drinks in your organisation, and determine if you meet the Healthy Choices guidelines.

  • If you have vending machines in your organisation, you can complete an online vending machine assessment.
  • If your organisation provides catering or has a retail food outlet, assess your menu using FoodChecker. Use our counting guide to understand how to count food and drink items when doing a retail outlet menu assessment in FoodChecker.

For clarification of any of the above points contact the Healthy Eating Advisory Service on 1300 22 52 88 or email us.


Further resources

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