Healthy Event Guidelines

Events provide an opportunity to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of a community. The Healthy Events Toolkit has been developed to guide community event coordinators in creating a supportive environment for healthy food and drink choices. There is a growing demand from the community for healthier options and strong support from state-wide organisations. Best of all, creating healthy events doesn’t need to be onerous.

Healthy event benefits

  • Significant positive impacts on the health of the community and event attendees
  • Unique marketing opportunities for your event
  • More alternatives for families and children
  • Better food choices for your event attendees
  • Unique opportunities to develop new partnerships to support your overall event
  • Opportunities for free or low cost activities to add to your event programming
  • Access to a wider range of patrons who prefer healthier food options. 

Catering for healthy events

The WA State Department of Health’s Healthy Options WA Policy document was created to ensure that healthy options are made available to all staff and visitors at WA Health hospitals, health services and workplaces. The policy uses a traffic light system – green, amber and red - to rate food and drink options based on nutrient content and is aligned with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This system helps food vendors and consumers choose healthy food and drinks.

The Healthy Options WA policy can assist you when planning your healthy event as you can apply the same (or similar) guidelines around what food and drink options you provide to staff and consumers. For example, the policy states that when catering for professional events, organisers should make available a wide range of green food and drinks (at least 50%) and where practical, have no more than 20% of food and drinks from the red category.

The Healthy Options WA policy can be found on the WA Department of Health’s website.

Green food and drinks

Green food and drinks are an excellent source of important nutrients.  Food vendors and caterers can promote healthy foods by offering discounts and by making sure that health food is prominently displayed. Green drinks and foods are low in saturated fat, added sugar and salt, and include:

  • Fruits e.g. fresh, canned in natural juice, dried (under 30g)
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes e.g. chickpeas, unsalted nuts, lentils, beans
  • Small 100% fruit juice, <250ml
  • Low fat yoghurt and cheese
  • Plain water 
  • Small low fat plain and flavoured milk, <300ml  
  • Lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Grains e.g. whole grains and or high cereal fibre varieties (e.g. rice, noodles, oats, pasta, quinoa, flat breads, high fibre grain bread and rolls)
  • Sushi
  • Rice paper rolls (use lean uncoated and non-crumbed meats or seafood and a variety of vegetable fillings)
  • Soups (using vegetables, legumes, lean meats, reduced fat and reduced salt stock).

Amber food and drinks

Amber food and drinks have some nutritional value, but contain moderate levels of saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt. Amber foods can contribute to excess energy intake and include:

  • Some muffins
  • Large juices and plain and flavoured reduced fat and full fat milks >300ml
  • Some processed meats e.g. lean ham, pastrami, diced processed chicken meat
  • Chicken and turkey with skin on
  • Full fat yoghurt
  • Full fat cheese
  • Potato chips and corn chips,  <30g.

Red food and drinks

Red food and drinks options have little nutritional value, are high in saturated fat, added sugar or salt and can contribute to excess energy intake. Red food and drinks include:

  • Soft drink
  • Chocolate
  • Lollies
  • Deep fried food
  • Potato chips and corn chips, >30g
  • Ice cream, ice confections, slushies and frozen yoghurt
  • Cakes, slices and doughnuts
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Pies, sausage rolls, pasties, samosas, croissants (maybe amber if using low fat pastry, and avoiding high  fat ingredients such as bacon and full fat cheese).

Physical activity at events

You can include opportunities for people to get active at your event. This will increase your event’s marketing appeal and includes:  

  • Using line-marking paint to draw hopscotch grids on the ground
  • Removing or limiting chairs from performance areas to encourage patrons to stand and move around
  • Partnering with local leisure centres or gyms to provide interactive exercise performances on stages or throughout the venue and encouraging participation
  • Partnering with local sport clubs and peak bodies to provide clinics and workshops for free in exchange for allowing them to promote their club to patrons
  • Using active carnival equipment such as jumping castles and bungy trampolines from reputable hire companies
  • Live music that people can dance and move to  
  • Encourage walking and bike riding to and around your event by:
    • Arranging the layout of your event to make use of existing pathways
    • Spacing out activities so people are encouraged to walk around the event
    • Providing valet bike parking  
  • Providing information about public transport options to and from your event.

Smoke free events

A smoke-free event will protect your community from second-hand smoke, and make your event healthier for everyone. 

Smoking regulations in Cockburn

  Smoking is prohibited in Cockburn:

  • Within 10 metres of playgrounds and skate parks
  • Within 10 metres of sporting venues during under 18’s events 
  • Within the outdoor areas of all public swimming pools
  • Within four metres of the entrance to any school, kindergarten or hospital.  
You can make your event smoke-free by:
  • Ensuring all promotional material indicates a smoke-free event
  • Educating staff and volunteers of your smoke-free status
  • Displaying smoke-free zones throughout your event. 
If you are unable to provide a totally smoke-free venue you may like to consider:
  • Creating designated smoking areas which are out of view of the general public and children
  • Ensuring smoke-free zones around any activities involving children under 18 years
  • Providing appropriate disposal options such as bins, smokers poles, sand boxes etc.  

Alcohol at events

Alcohol-free events are those where alcohol is not for sale and not allowed to be brought into the event. If your event is alcohol-free, you will need to ensure that you have appropriate signage indicating this. All staff and volunteers need to be aware of this guideline. The sale and supply of alcohol is strictly legislated under the Liquor Control Planning Act 1998.

We recommend that no alcohol be available for events which include people under 18 years. However, if you have a fenced 18+ area and adhere to the following guidelines, then a request for alcohol at an appropriate event will be considered by Council. You would need to provide the following:
  • A risk management plan
  • Free water
  • Food options for sale
  • Security
  • First aid
  • Reputable bar operator. 

Planning and evaluating your healthy event

To ensure the success of your healthy event, establish your healthy event guidelines status early on and document this in all event planning and  communicate to stakeholders.  

Engage your stakeholders

Schedule an initial meeting with all people involved in your event to ensure their support. You should clearly communicate with those involved throughout the event planning phase, on the day of the event and during post-event evaluation. You may also like to engage with City staff who can support your healthy event, including:

  • Health Officers
  • Marketing and Communications team
  • Environmental Health team
  • Children’s Services team.  

Evaluate your event

It is important to evaluate any event to gain an understanding of the views and experiences of a range of stakeholders including:

  • Patrons
  • Vendors
  • Volunteers and staff
  • Partners and sponsors.
Event evaluation includes:
  • People’s perceptions and attitudes about your healthy event
  • Sales data from food vendors including individual product sales and overall sales
  • Testimonials from stakeholders to support you and other event coordinators in the future.

More information and contact

Please contact the City on 08 9411 3444 or at
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9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

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