Offering Healthy Eating Alternatives In Wimbledon

Scheme helps you eat out and keep healthy

Wimbledon-based food outlets are among those who have signed up to an initiative to offer healthier eating options.

They are among the businesses in Merton who have adopted the London Healthier Catering Commitment (HCC).

The HCC is a pan-London initiative that aims to encourage food businesses to offer healthier menu choices.

To achieve this mark food businesses have to meet eight out of 22 set criteria - four that are essential and have to be met. Some of the criteria include the type of oil used, salt, portion sizes and cooking procedures.

A number of the businesses involved attended a special event at Merton Civic Centre (above right).

They included La Poste Coffee Bar in Mitcham, who were the first HCC sign-up in Merton in early 2012. Newcomers Katavento and Ban Yai Thai Restaurant at Merton Abbey Mills and Fresh Fish in South Wimbledon were also at the event.

Other local businesses have already started to change their food practises to obtain the HCC too. Jose's Cafe in Morden are now offering smaller portions upon request and displaying fresh fruit on the counter for customers to buy, whilst Venus Bar & Brasserie in Colliers Wood have changed the type of oil they use and changed to saltshakers with fewer holes.

Merton's public health, environmental health and trading standard teams are working together to give more local businesses the chance to get involved.

The full four essential criteria for the HCC are:

·        A polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat or oil is used when cooking food

·        Where salt is added after cooking/preparation, customers add their own salt.  Sachets or salt shakers with fewer holes available.

·        Where soft drinks are sold, water, reduced sugar/ diet drinks (less than 5% Sugar) and / or unsweetened fruit juice are available and are more prominently displayed.

·        Smaller portions for children and adults are available and advertised. (Between 1/2 to 1/3 of standard size portion).

Cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Linda Kirby said: "The HCC is a good initiative for shops to strive for. It is great that local businesses are making the effort to provide healthier options to customers."

July 5, 2013