Healthier meals on the menu for kids in Queensland

Queensland cafés and restaurants will be empowered to offer healthier menus for children, thanks to the state’s first Healthy Kids Menu initiative launched by Health and Wellbeing Queensland. 

Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld) Chief Executive Dr Robyn Littlewood said from today, food venues across the state can become a part of a new initiative that supports cafés and restaurants to offer healthier menus for kids, so it’s even easier for families to make nutritious choices when eating out. 

“Queensland is a great place to eat out as a family and through Healthy Kids Menu, it will become even easier for parents to ensure their children are eating highly nutritious meals they can choose themselves,” Dr Littlewood said.  

“We know that childhood obesity is a significant problem, with one in four Queensland children overweight or obese. Good nutrition and a balanced diet are essential to helping children grow up healthy, and given the amount of food and drink consumed outside of the home, venues can be a positive force for helping to set kids up with healthy eating habits for life.”  

Dr Littlewood said becoming a Healthy Kids Menu Venue was good for children and good for business.  

“I want to acknowledge how difficult this past year has been for food businesses. Lockdowns and periods of closure, adjusting to changing restrictions, and with our most recent lockdown just last week, many hospitality and café venues are doing it tough. Healthy Kids Menu is a great opportunity for cafés and restaurants to tell a really positive story about their menus which may attract new customers, provide access to new promotion opportunities, and support the health of Queensland kids. Most importantly, we want to recognise you for doing this.”

Chris Edwards, owner of The Baseline Café and Bar at the Queensland Tennis Centre and CEO of Australian Catering Services, said it was exciting to be Brisbane’s first Healthy Kids Menu Venue.

“This was the perfect opportunity to put health on our menu and provide foods that are going to fuel kids to perform at their best. Families are coming in looking for healthier options, and I am so happy to be able to deliver,” he said. 

Restaurants and cafés who opt into the initiative will have access to practical and user-friendly guidelines and resources which make it easy to adapt their menus and serve great-tasting, healthier food and drink options to children.  

Matt Golinski, celebrity chef and HWQld’s healthy food ambassador said even small actions could make a menu healthier. 

“Creating a healthier menu doesn’t have to be hard. Simple actions like switching cooking oils to canola oil or olive oil, reducing the salt in recipes, or using vegetables as a key ingredient instead of a side, can have a huge impact on children’s health without affecting day to day business,” he said. 

Through the Queensland Healthy Kids Menu, venues will also have the opportunity to apply for the 2021 Healthy Kids Menu Awards through Restaurant and Catering Industry Australia.  

Learn more about becoming a Healthy Kids Menu Venue: