Restaurants and food courts sign up to Healthier Dining Programme

The Health Promotion Board is launching its healthier food strategy, partnering 18 food service providers to serve 500-calorie meals across some 700 outlets and stalls island-wide, as well as 16 worksite canteens catering to about 10,000 workers dail
The Health Promotion Board is launching its healthier food strategy, partnering 18 food service providers to serve 500-calorie meals across some 700 outlets and stalls island-wide, as well as 16 worksite canteens catering to about 10,000 workers daily. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - Eating out, in future, could mean putting on less of those precious calories burned in the gym.

The Health Promotion Board launched a Healthier Dining Programme on Wednesday which will eventually see 700 food outlets and stalls serving 500-calorie meals.

Companies including Fish & Co and food court Kopitiam are among 19 partners to have signed up and the HPB hopes to work with 30 by the end of the year.

Their outlets will commit to using healthier ingredients, such as better cooking oils and whole grains. Sixteen worksite canteens serving 10,000 workers a day are also on board.

The Healthier Dining Programme is part of a larger food strategy that aims to increase the number of healthier eat-out meals consumed to 180 million per year - or 20 per cent of all eat-out meals - by 2020.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, said at the launch: "Singaporeans are eating more saturated fat, not enough whole grains and excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates such as white rice, which has been linked to increased risk of diabetes."

To promote healthier eating, Fish & Co is offering 11 500-calorie meals like grilled peri peri prawns at prices 40 per cent cheaper than regular meal items.

Food courts Kopitiam and Foodfare will also require their new and renewing tenants to include at least one 500-calorie meal in their menus. These stalls and outlets can work with qualified wholesalers under the HPB to get subsidised healthy ingredients.

In the next phase of the Food Strategy, the HPB will work with major drinks players and sellers to encourage the consumption of water and less sweetened drinks in communities, schools and workplaces. This will cut the number of "empty calories" consumed, said Prof Faishal.

The Board is also working with food manufacturers to grow the variety of Healthier Choice Symbol products and make them more affordable to Singaporeans.