Promoting environments that foster healthy eating

Strengthening community and reducing health inequities is one of the ways that Community and Public Health aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in our region. We do this by providing education, taking a system-based approach and advocating policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Specific work is focussed on actions and outcomes to create change in food, nutrition and physical activity environments and behaviours, such as increasing access to food (food security).

Community and Public Health staff work towards creating nutrition environments that foster and enable healthy eating, along with resources that support actions to reduce poor nutrition that may result in chronic disease. The key messages for a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat less processed foods that are often fatty, salty, and sugary.
  • Exclusively breastfeed infants for six months where possible, and introduce complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for at least one year and beyond.
  • Be active every day for at least 30 minutes in as many ways as possible.
  • Add some vigorous exercise and resistance for extra benefit and fitness.
  • Aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
  • Promote and foster the development of environments that support healthy lifestyles.

Look to seasonal vegetables for immunity support this winter

5+ A Day media release: 31st May 2022

Young women holding a large basket arranged full of winter vegetables. Source: 5+ A Day website.As the cold weather sets in across Aotearoa, thoughts turn to how we can keep ourselves healthy. So the arrival of locally grown, tasty winter vegetable crops couldn’t come at a better time.

5+ A Day Project Manager, Carmel Ireland says eating at least five servings of seasonal vegetables every day is a delicious, and nutritious way to keep healthy and happy no matter what the weather.

“A strong immune system is our best defence against winter illness and plenty of wholesome natural foods, like vegetables, are the best way to ensure we get all the nutrients we need for immune support.

“New Zealand vegetables provide a huge range of key nutrients that support immunity, such as vitamin C, folate and iron. These are naturally found in many winter vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, silver beet and kūmara,” she says.

“Try to eat a mix of colours at each meal. Vegetable soup is an excellent lunch option on a cold day, start with a mix of root vegetables such as parsnips, potato and yams and throw in sliced leeks and silver beet for a fresh boost of colour and flavour.

“I love serving a slice of vegetable frittata for an affordable breakfast. Mix leftover roast vegetables such as carrots and kūmara with pan-fried leeks, stir in lightly beaten eggs and a splash of milk and bake until the egg is set. You can add fresh herbs for delicious flavour combinations,” she says.

Shoppers looking for inspiration and advice about using winter vegetables can download the following helpful resources:

Promoting nutrition in education and community settings

Promote nutrition in community and education settings has a direct impact on the health and motivation of those involved, including staff, and children or students.

Current work by Community and Public Health staff includes:


Nourishing Futures with Better Kai

Community and Public Health West Coast developed this resource for parents of toddlers and young children.

This booklet is designed to help parents with all things nutrition for their little one, to set them up for healthy habits throughout their life.

Helping to create healthier workplaces

Current initiatives in workplaces are focussed on assisting workplaces in the development of wellness programmes.
There is growing evidence that comprehensive workplace health promotion programs are cost effective and improve employee health. Identified benefits include increased employee satisfaction and retention, and decreased absenteeism and injuries on the job.

Community and Public Health has developed a framework that is flexible and easily adapted to suit the needs of an organisation. The framework consists of a step-by-step process with several different elements to create a tailored health promotion programme. This approach has been shown to increase morale in the workplace as employees work together to meet the challenges of adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Working to improve food resilience in Christchurch and Canterbury

Community and Public Health has an advisory role with the Food Resilience Network (FRN). The Network is the home of Edible Canterbury – a movement advocating for healthy and strengthened communities by:

  • supporting existing local food producers;
  • encouraging and educating for more locally grown food; and
  • fostering relationships with key players in the food system to build a healthy resilient Canterbury.

A key project for the Food Resilience Network is the development of Ōtākaro Orchard. This will be a highly accessible, engaging, and unique orchard and garden in central Christchurch. The completed space will show sustainable and organic food systems in practice and build on its history as a place to gather mahinga kai.

Community and Public Health is also a signatory to the Edible Canterbury Charter.

Food forests cropping up in Canterbury

A community food forest provides an abundance of food for residents and those that wish to visit to gather – fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants by way of a layered permaculture companion planting system.

Part of Tarndale Park in Hanmer Springs has been set aside for a community-led food forest with support from the Kaiapoi Food Forest Trust.

A food forest is proposed for the Birdsey Reserve in the Heathcote Valley.

Existing food forests in Canterbury include:

Advice on healthy lifestyles for adults, children and teenagers

Eating well, drinking plenty of water, being active and getting enough quality sleep are key elements to help support a healthy lifestyle. Other factors include increasing your energy levels, supporting mental health, and maintaining the activities of daily living.



For more information, contact:

Bek Parry
Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 307 6902

Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Ph: +64 3 768 1160

Contacts for individual or specialist nutrition support and advice

Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists help people to improve their health and lifestyle through optimal nutrition.

Feeding your family for less or on a budget

Community and Public Health staff are also interested in addressing issues around access and availability of affordable food (food security). This involves working with disadvantaged groups such as those on low incomes and those living alone (especially men). If you are finding it hard to make your food budget stretch, then try one of the following menu plans for some new ideas.

The Heart Foundation also produces two cookbooks of nutritious recipes on a budget:

Puāwai-Kai: A new lifestyle education and cooking programme

Puāwai-Kai is a new, free group lifestyle education and cooking programme run by Pegasus Health. The new programme takes the best from the previously run Appetite for Life and Senior Chef courses.

The programme has been developed with feedback from primary care professionals and following nine pilot courses with a wide range of Cantabrians including Māori, Pasifika, men, seniors, and migrant communities. Courses start in May 2022.

Participants learn how small changes in the way they live can add up to a big change in health.

GPs and practice nurses can make referrals by phoning the Puāwai Healthy Lifestyle team (0800 333 405).

Join the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op in greater Christchurch

The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op is now called Foodtogether. It operates as a stand-alone social enterprise in Christchurch and North Canterbury, and is supported by the Healthy Life Trust.

There are also other fruit and vegetable co-operatives in Christchurch such as the:

Page last updated: 08/07/2022

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