Liz Wood, Woodhill HouseCase Study: Woodhill House

Aberdeenshire Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland to achieve the healthyliving award back in 2007.

The staff restaurant at Woodhill House serves up meals to around 600 council employees based at the building.

Following the introduction of a salad bar, the launch of the healthyliving award inspired a final push to make sure at least 50 per cent of the menu was made up of healthier options.

Cooking practices revised

Cooking practices were revised to cut out frying as far as possible and catering staff were trained to adopt healthyliving standards right across the board, from the ingredients used to the amount of salt added when cooking.

Chips haven’t disappeared from the menu altogether but diners are always offered healthier options such as boiled potatoes or rice.

The restaurant offers fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, and the changes have proven very popular with both council staff and elected Councillors.

Good variety of healthy options

Catering Manager Liz Wood explained: “We have around 600 staff based here and the majority of them eat in the restaurant at least once a day so it’s really important for us to offer them a good variety of healthy options.

“Healthy living was already high on our agenda but we made several changes to meet the strict criteria for the award, including reducing salt in our cooking, changing some of our cooking practices and introducing healthy snacks.

“We have had positive feedback from the workers eating here and also from the Councillors whose dining room has benefited from the extra healthy options.

Small changes can make a dish much healthier

“Small changes, like swapping the pastry on steak pie for a sliced potato topping, can make a dish much healthier and our diners love it.

“People are much more aware of the need to eat sensibly nowadays and I’m happy that we are making it easier for them.”

Healthier food at reasonable prices

 “We continue to strive to offer healthier food options, but in this financial climate staff are looking for cheaper alternatives and the challenge for the catering team is to create healthier food options at reasonable prices.

Popular healthy options introduced at the restaurant include poached haddock, tortilla wraps with bean and salsa filling and snack-sized tubs of dried fruit which staff nibble on at their desk.