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Five themes for your canteen

With a little creativity, theme days can be a fun and cost-effective way to encourage healthy foods. Changing up the regular menu will generate excitement among students and keep them interested in what’s on offer.

Themed canteen

Theme days provide a way of celebrating special occasions, trialling different foods and promoting new menu items. It’s also an opportunity to seek customer feedback.

Coming up with a theme idea is the easy part, but how can you help ensure the day is successful?

  • plan well in advance and promote extensively
  • consider the aim of the promotion – is it to trial a new product, promote vegetables and fruit or to increase menu variety?
  • be sure to order enough food to prevent selling out. Pre-orders can help with forecasting numbers
  • get the students involved. Find out what themes or popular foods will interest them
  • decorate the canteen or dress up to create a buzz.

Themes can be tied in with the school’s calendar such as sports day or special occasions like religious and cultural events. Health awareness events/campaigns also provide an opportunity to focus on specific health-related themes, e.g. World Vegetarian Day. Others can be based around topics being taught in the classroom.

So what healthy, yet tasty foods can you provide that still make a profit? Here are five ideas, but the possibilities are endless, it pays to be imaginative!

Winter Soup Day

A mug of soup is the perfect way to warm up during the cooler months. It’s also a great way to include vegetables on your menu.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival surrounded by festivity. Why not join in the fun by adding a healthy twist to these traditional Asian recipes?

Heart Day

Heart Day is part of the Heart Foundation’s Annual Appeal, held in February each year. Use red, heart-healthy foods to create awareness and highlight the importance of a healthy heart.

Vegetables/Fruit of the week

Find exciting ways to promote a different vegetable or fruit each week based on what’s in season.

A taste of India

An opportunity to introduce vegetarian protein sources into your menu like chickpeas or other legumes. This theme works well for terms 2 or 3 to keep warm on a winter’s day.

Article by Rebekah Polglaze and Greer Gibson, Massey University Dietetic Students.