Training to eat well

Latrobe Valley community members will be encouraged to eat with traffic lights in mind through a free interactive training session encouraging healthy eating choices.

LCHS public health nutritionist Laura Duff said training for health professionals and health champions is a good way to promote healthy eating. photograph heidi kraak

LCHS public health nutritionist Laura Duff said training for health professionals and health champions is a good way to promote healthy eating. photograph heidi kraak

Hosted by Latrobe Community Health Service and the Healthy Eating Advisory Service, large organisations across the region that have a cafe, canteen or vending machine on-site are invited to learn how to make easy healthy choices during the session, to be held on Wednesday.

Latrobe Community Health Service public health nutritionist Laura Duff said the mentorship program would be available to health promotion officers, health professionals and healthy eating 'champions' in community organisations.

"This mentorship program is all about connecting businesses in our local community with the experts and increasing their skills and knowledge so they can ultimately make the healthy changes themselves," she said.

"We know that [most people] want to eat healthier but it is not always an easy thing to do. We have very, very busy lifestyles, so we are often going for foods on the run.

"The average Aussie eats out three to four times a week."

Ms Duff said only 7 per cent of people in the Latrobe Valley reached the recommended five serves of vegetables each day which was "about in line" with the state average.

"There can be really simple ways of doing that – adding extra veggies to your day and they can be really tasty and delicious," she said.

"So I always recommend to get half a plate full of veggies at dinner time for example, mixing it up with different veggies, salads and going for the different colours of the rainbow too – variety is the spice of life."

Healthy Eating Advisory Service dietician Emily Scott said the training would help support people from organisations to implement healthy choices in workplaces, centred around the state government's traffic light system.

"Green foods are the healthiest choice. They are full of really good nutrients, lower in kilojoules and usually lower in saturated fats or added sugar or salt," she said.

"Amber foods, we suggest, are foods that do have some valuable nutrients [but] they do often lead to you having too much or consuming too much energy.

"Red foods don't really contributed any nutrition ... they are high in kilojoules, high in sugar and saturated fat and salt and lack those important nutrients."

Ms Scott said the mentorship program would empower participants to increase the number of green and amber foods on offer at workplace cafes, canteens and vending machines.

"The whole [session] is around making the healthy choice the easy choice ... and increasing the availability and promotion of healthier food and drinks in those settings," she said.

For more information or to register contact the Healthy Eating Advisory Service phone 1300 22 52 88, email heas@nutritionaustralia.org or visit heas.health.vic.gov.au.

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