EATING healthy has never been easier, with the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service (REDHS) being given the Healthy Choice tick of approval.
The achievement comes after a government initiative to promote healthier eating standards throughout the state was launched.
Its objective was to tackle obesity and unhealthy eating habits.
REDHS health promotion officer Crystie Ballard said the work to achieve this milestone has been going for some time.
‘‘It’s a massive achievement and one we’ve been working towards since around October last year,’’ Crystie said.
‘‘It’s been a combined effort from all the staff in the catering and kitchen sectors to make this happen.’’
Achieving the scale of 50 per cent green, 30 per cent amber and 20 per cent red to meet the guidelines required a delicate touch, with alterations to the menu being done in small stages.
‘‘The changes to the ingredients and recipes have been done in small amounts over time to ensure the end result was what we wanted and to make sure we hit the targets set by the guidelines.
‘‘Healthy food can taste good and that’s one of the key messages we want to get across to people.’’
The food has been made to be as bright and colourful as possible to catch the eye of consumers and draw them into taking on healthier eating habits.
‘‘We’re trying to fight obesity and lead the community towards healthier choices when it comes to what they eat and develop healthier recipes for them to try themselves.
‘‘Hopefully with the steps we’ve taken it has a positive affect on the wider community and shows how small changes can go a long way.’’
Dietician Katherine Watson said with the growing number of people being classified as overweight or obese there needs to be a push to reduce the risks of unhealthy eating.
‘‘As this problem continues to affect our communities we need to take the steps to reduce the lifestyle risks that contribute to it, such as unhealthy eating,’’ Katherine said.
‘‘People were hesitant at first towards changing their habits but once they accepted the change it wasn’t so bad.’’
For staff in the kitchen, such as kiosk assistant Lynn Mussared, the experience has been a rewarding one to be a part of.
‘‘It’s been a good change and trying out all the different recipes and combinations has been a lot of fun,’’ Lynn said.
‘‘Once people try the food those perceptions get knocked down and they can enjoy the healthier options available.’’
The change is altering what people are looking for in their food and what they use to put together their own meals.
‘‘People are buying healthier now that they know how good the food can be and we’ve had people mention the healthier options we have compared to other hospitals.’’
Fellow kiosk assistant Megan Ilton said promoting healthier eating habits has been uplifting.
‘‘It took a lot of consultation to figure out what we had to do to meet the standards set through this initiative,’’ Megan said.
‘‘Once we understood what we needed to do to meet them it has all flowed and come together well.’’