BDA Work Ready helps the NHS celebrate healthily as it turns 70

Tomorrow, the UK’s Chief Health Professions Officer conference kicks off in London and will host a special tea party to celebrate the NHS turning 70 this year. BDA Work Ready has worked alongside the organising team and event caterers to curate a menu which incorporates fun and food – without creating a culture of over-indulgence.

The Chief Health Professions officer, Suzanne Rastrick, supports Allied Health Professions (AHPs) – the third largest workforce in the NHS. They include: dietitians, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, radiographers and paramedics.

Across 2018 there will be hundreds of tea parties to celebrate our NHS. A cup of tea and a treat is a time-honoured way to acknowledge an event and bring people together. Occasional treats can definitely be fitted into a balanced diet, but ‘cake culture’ is a term which crops up regularly in discussions looking at healthy workplaces. It seems tricky to balance a human want to share food with individual’s desires to balance their food intake.

A recent study of office workers found that two thirds of respondents ate office cake at least once/week and cake was available in most workplaces up to five times/week1. Many studies have shown that the working environment can be modified to make it less ‘obesogenic’2 – potentially reaching more people than individual-level behaviour change approaches.

BDA Work Ready has a national network of dietitians across the UK who can support NHS, other public sector and commercial companies to adopt a healthier catering and meetings policy.

If you’re hosting a tea party during the season of celebrating our NHS, here are some tips to help you get started:

Tip 1 Balance If your tea party is part of a whole day meeting, then you can adjust other parts of your menu to incorporate the tea party – for example no dessert with lunch or a lighter option during morning breaks.
Tip 2 Choice Offer your guests choices which are calorie controlled – maybe a small piece of cake (around 20g) or fruit skewers with a drizzle of chocolate.
Tip 3 Think positive Snacks are a great chance to boost fibre intake via wholegrains or extra fruit & veggies.
Tip 4 Tackle cake culture Some celebration cakes are prettily decorated with icing and buttercream. Consider fruit stacks or shot glasses of crudités to have a visual impact without the added sugar and fat.
Tip 5 Drink up Party tables with pretty tea pots and jugs of iced water with mint, slices of cucumber or fruit are lovely addition to any celebration table – and provide useful hydration.

Include:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Lower fat options
  • Savoury choices

Avoid:

  • Drinks which contain added sugar or contribute to dental decay
  • Foods which would have red traffic lights for sugar, salt or saturated fat
  • Processed meats

For our suggested menu or for more help tailoring a tea party, contact us today at workready@bda.uk.com or 0121 200 8027.

References:

  1. Walker L, Office cake consumption in the UK: an exploration of its characteristics and associated attitudes among office workers. May 2017 (http://chesterrep.openrepository.com/cdr/handle/10034/620992)
  2. BDA Work Ready White Paper (www.bdaworkready.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/White-Paperuploaded.pdf)

 

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