2018 Good Sports Awards: Healthy Eating Club of the Year
Leichhardt Football Club are the 2018 Good Sports Healthy Eating Club of the Year.
One of the best aspects of Australia being such a multicultural nation is without a doubt the food. Leichhardt Football Club have not only embraced this concept but used it to improve health, and celebrate diversity. As a result, Leichhardt Football Club’s sense of community and revenue has also changed for the better. This is why they are the 2018 Good Sports Healthy Eating Club of the Year.
A football club canteen menu of healthy global portions
“We are an extremely inclusive club who welcome people from all cultures and nationalities to join us,” says Club President Jessy Mulla. Jessy say Leichhardt Football Club has members with Bhutanese, Croatian, Italian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Papua New Guinea and African heritage just to name a few.
“We encourage players to promote their culture and where they are from. Bringing in home-cooked meals based on their own family recipes to sell within the canteen. This has had a very positive impact by improving the health of our members and increasing profit margins.”
Sausage rolls to salad rolls – outselling unhealthy traditions
Like almost all sporting clubs in Australia, Leichhardt Football Club’s sold ‘traditional’ canteen food. Deep-fried, fatty foods such as pies and sausage rolls, and sugary beverages such as energy drinks and soft drinks. The menu change came when the club adopted the Good Sports program into their operations. They made the decision to offer healthier options as well. Slowly, they noticed the healthier options selling out much faster than the traditional canteen food.
According to Jessy “the menu selections are more tempting and familiar to the individual. Lasagne and quiches, made-to-order steak burgers, chicken and vegetable wraps, salad rolls and pizzas. Made from fresh produce in our very own wood-fired oven”. Jessy says “fried food has all but disappeared from our menu with the demand for healthier food ever increasing.
“The transition to healthier meals was seamless and no negative feedback was received — only positive responses.”
Jessy says the younger committee members are driving the club’s transformation. They have been proactive in not only encouraging healthier food options. They are also implementing responsible alcohol consumption.
Celebrating better choices
“The choice of alcohol on display has vastly reduced, with light beer and bottled water now being our biggest sellers,” Jessy says. “Winning this award is well-deserved recognition for our committee’s hard work in turning ‘bad’ to ‘good’ and ‘mediocre returns’ to ‘good profit margins’.”
The club plans on using their prize money in overhauling the canteen’s equipment. The funds will help them keep up with demand for healthy, exciting food options for their members.
“Our equipment is aged and in much need of replacement, in particular our bain-marie, bench top appliances and microwave oven. Our canteen volunteers do a tremendous job and new appliances will make food preparation easier all round.”