Smaller portion sizes on the menu for Happy Heart Eat Out Month

68% of consumer think smaller portion sizes are a good idea

Monday, 31 May 2010. Research conducted for the ‘Happy Heart Eat Out’ campaign, revealed that 68% of consumers think offering smaller portion sizes is a good idea (1). The research also revealed that 75% of the participating catering establishments noted an increase in requests for healthy options during the ‘Happy Heart Eat Out’ campaign (1).

The Irish Heart Foundation, safefood and the HSE have joined together for this year’s campaign, which encourages establishments to offer healthy options on their menus, and encourages customers to ‘Think Small’ when it comes to portion sizes throughout the month of June. ‘Happy Heart Eat Out’ is a healthy eating awareness campaign targeted at the catering sector in Ireland and the ‘For a Happy Heart…Think Small’ campaign will run in hundreds of participating restaurants, workplaces and communities across the length and breadth of the country for the month of June.

Dr. Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health and Nutrition, safefood said, “Over 60% of the Irish population is overweight or obese (2), putting most adults in our community at a preventable increased risk of heart disease. Eating out is now a part of life for many of us. Research has shown that one in four people eat light meals outside the home, and 12% dine out for their main meal of the day (3). Eating out for a special treat is one thing, but for everyday eating out or eating out for convenience, choosing healthier options and sensible portion sizes is extremely important – for both our waistlines and our overall health.”

Janis Morrissey, dietitian, Irish Heart Foundation said, “10,000 Irish people die each year from heart disease and stroke, and about one third of premature heart disease relates to poor diet (4). We need to remind consumers and catering establishments that it’s not just the variety and quality of the food we eat that is important for a healthy weight and heart - how much we eat also matters.”

The campaign, now in its 17th year, has the full support of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Panel of chefs Ireland and Euro-Toques Ireland. Participating restaurants, cafés and workplace canteens will be offering additional healthy options throughout June: plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, poultry or fish based dishes and meals that are low in fat, sugar and salt and rich in fibre, adhering to portion sizes as recommended in the food pyramid.

Paul Cadden, President, the Restaurants Association of Ireland and Proprietor – Saba and Saba To Go said, “The Restaurants Association of Ireland is delighted to support the annual Happy Heart Eat Out Campaign. This excellent programme highlights the importance of a healthy diet and also encourages restaurateurs and chefs to create exciting flavoursome food which ticks all the boxes for a healthy heart. We are delighted to be involved in this wonderful initiative.”

A range of materials, including posters, tent cards and heart stickers will be used to highlight healthy options on menus of participating establishments throughout the month of June. A recipe booklet has also been produced with recipes from top restaurant and community chefs around Ireland to inspire establishments with ideas for tasty, attractive and heart-healthy menus. The booklet is also available for consumers to use at home and is available free of charge.

A full list of participating catering establishments is available on the Irish Heart Foundation website www.irishheart.ie. The Happy Heart Eat Out campaign, ‘For a Happy Heart…Think Small’, will be supported by radio advertising which will air from Monday 31st May 2010.

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For further information, recipes and imagery please contact

Kate FitzGerald/Aoife McDonald, WHPR

Telephone: 01 669 0030/086 3873083 (Kate) and 087 410 0777 (Aoife)

Email: kate.fitzgerald@ogilvy.com and aoife.mcdonald@ogilvy.com

Editor’s Notes

References

1. Irish Heart Foundation (2007). Customer Evaluation Happy Heart Eat Out. Irish Heart Foundation. Dublin

2. http://www.slan06.ie/SLAN2007MainReport.pdf

3, 4. European Heart Network (2002) Food, Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in the European Region: Challenges for the New Millennium. European Heart Network. Brussels.