Catering within your workplace
Healthy catering in the workplace is an important part of helping staff, clients and visitors to be healthy. Workplaces may offer catering for a number of reasons, for example during meetings, conferences, events or social activities.
Making sure the policies in your organisation include requirements for healthy catering is an important part of the whole of setting approach to supporting healthy eating. The Healthy Choices: healthy eating policy and catering guide for workplaces includes a healthy eating policy template that you can adapt for your organisation.
A note for hospitals and health services: catering applies to staff procuring food and drinks with health service (government funds) for meetings, functions, and events. This includes occasions such as workshops, conferences, community events, launches, celebrations and ceremonies, as well as client or community education, information, or training programs. It also includes food/drinks provided (free) on the ward or in staff rooms/waiting rooms for staff/visitors (e.g. tea/coffee, water, fruit, biscuits, lollies).
Gain support from management
First speak to your organisation’s management about providing healthy catering that meets the Healthy Choices guidelines. You can tell managers that healthy catering:
- promotes the health and wellbeing of staff and visitors
- can lead to increased productivity
- shows that the organisation is committed to supporting good health.
Develop a healthy catering policy
Having a healthy catering policy will help make sure that providing healthy foods and drinks is part of your organisation’s regular procedures and that it becomes part of your workplace culture.
Sourcing healthy foods and drinks
Starting from scratch gives you an excellent opportunity to offer healthy foods and drinks through catering.
For ideas, refer to the Healthy Choices: healthy eating policy and catering guide for workplaces, Simple changes for healthy catering, research ‘healthy workplace catering’ online or check with your local council to see if local healthy catering guides are available.
It is a good idea to ask staff about the foods and drinks they prefer to make sure they are happy with what is provided.
Finding a healthy provider
Many catering companies offer a healthy range. To find a healthy provider you can:
- speak with your current caterer about their healthier options
- speak with other local caterers or retail food outlets in your area
- contact your local council, who may have a list of caterers who are providing healthier options
- research ‘healthy catering companies’ on the internet.
Assessing your catering menu
Find out how the food and drinks you offer through catering are rated against the Healthy Choices guidelines, with a free online menu assessment.
If your catering menu doesn’t have any RED items in it, you might be eligible for Healthy Choices marketing material.
Contracts with providers
If your organisation is putting out a tender for a new caterer, make sure you include requirements for healthy foods and drinks in the tender specifications.
Once you have found a caterer that provides healthy options, you can sign a contract which includes a catering service agreement (link), which specifies that healthy catering is required for your organisation. This will help ensure that healthy catering is sustained and embedded in organisational procedures.