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Scenic Hotel Group introduces ‘Kids’ Choice’ heart healthy menus

The Scenic Hotel Group has become the first hotel group to adopt the Heart Foundation’s new Kids’ Choice programme, providing healthier menus for children.

The New Zealand owned and operated group has revamped its kids’ meals and is introducing these across all 16 New Zealand hotels.

Heart Foundation Food and Nutrition Manager Dave Monro said he applauded the move by Scenic Hotel Group to offer more nutritious meals to its younger diners.

“The Heart Foundation would like to see more cafés and restaurants taking a lead in this important area,” he said.

“While most main menus for adults feature a number of healthy options, children’s menus often come up short. What we’re seeing is a lot of fried foods, high-sugar beverages and very few vegetables being offered to children when they’re out dining with parents. While it’s true that parents and kids often want a treat when they’re eating out as a family, that doesn’t mean unhealthy items should be dominating kids’ menus.”

Monro said by turning the traditional kids’ menu on its head and offering healthier choices and less deep fried options, chefs and restauranteurs will ultimately be investing in their future customers.

Scenic Hotel Group Marketing Manager Virna Smith said the group is committed to being a leader in responsible tourism which includes a range of social and environmental initiatives.

“Children develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy so the challenge is to ensure the choices they make at a young age shapes their food preferences into adulthood,” she said.


Delicious healthy choices

“Children dining at a Scenic Hotel Group property will be offered a range of delicious choices such as: Yorkshire pudding stuffed with prawns, pork and vegetable dumplings, steamed blue cod and ratatouille parcel on bubble and squeak risotto. For dessert, there are a range of options such as cinnamon and popcorn crumbed banana with peanut butter frozen yoghurt.”

Monro said there is evidence that restaurant operators who have focused on developing healthy kids’ meals are reaping the rewards in terms of new business. This is in line with a clear trend identified in the Restaurant Association of New Zealand’s Hospitality Report 2014, that consumers are increasingly seeking healthy food options when dining out.


Parents asked to challenge food services

He said when parents and caregivers see a lack of healthy options for children on the menu, they should be challenging food services to step up their game.

The Kids’ Choice programme offers food services that serve healthier foods to children endorsement in the form of menu branding, promotion and assistance in designing suitable meals.

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