Applications are now open for Healthway’s ‘summer healthy sporting club program’ offering up to $4000 in grants for clubs to switch to healthy food options.
The program is being run by the WA School Canteen Association and focuses on promoting the provision of less fatty foods for grass roots clubs throughout WA.
The initiative forms part of a $200,000 grant provided by the WA State Government and Healthway WA.
WASCA chief executive Megan Sauzier says the program is needed to provide essential equipment and training to clubs and staff.
“They are really good at promoting physical activity but not always great at promoting healthy eating,” she says.
“The program looks at up-skilling canteen staff and other people involved in the club so they understand the importance of healthy eating on and off the field.”
She says the program uses a traffic light system which promotes green healthy options and limits unhealthy red options.
Mrs Sauzier says the programme is intended to benefit players and spectators alike.
“You’ve got people who are on the sidelines and it’s cold so we want them to have something nutritious and not be snacking on something unhealthy,” she says.
Secretary of the Edgewater community resident’s association Beth Hewitt says when it comes to feeding a club, convenience and mass appeal work best.
“I’ve run many sausage sizzles back in my day,” she says.
“Its quick and easy and it’s profitable too, you can charge two dollars a sausage sizzle and still make money and that’s one of the factors.
“It’s a fundraiser, it’s not necessarily the best food but everybody enjoys a good sausage sizzle.”
She says healthier options can provide challenges of their own.
“There are food allergies, my daughter can’t eat tomato or cucumber so how do you serve a salad to those sorts of people,” she says.
“Do you want to sit there on the sideline on a cold day and eat a salad? The sausage sizzle is what gets parents down to watch their kids.”
She says in moderation the current food provided by clubs meets the needs of the players and makes the day special.
“A sausage sizzle is protein you know, they say after exercise you should have some protein, you know it’s a bit of energy-building carbohydrates, and it tastes good,” she says.
“It’s a part of belonging and being, it’s more than just the food on its own.”
Nutritionist Tracie Connor says changes made at the club level can have a significant impact on how people approach nutritious options.
“When healthy options are limited our attitudes towards unhealthy food can change,” she says.
“We start to see people making excuses for eating unhealthy foods like it’s a special occasion or a treat, and what we are seeing is the occasion change to meet the food on offer.”
She says everything is healthy in moderation, but we’re not seeing that moderation anymore.
Mrs Connor says sometimes people worry too much about the about the small stuff to avoid dealing with bigger issues.
“It’s like when the Fremantle council said we can’t have sprinkles on our ice cream, that was crazy,” she says.
“Give us some respect that we can make choices to have sprinkles or not.”