Healthy Families Christchurch are taking the sizzle off the sausage

Leave my sausages alone. I want real meat not fake vegetarian sausages. I want white bread not wholemeal. I want mustard, not mayonnaise slathered coleslaw. If you want to use sugar-free or low sugar tomato sauce I can live with that but telling me that coleslaw is healthy is a joke. I used to work in a Deli and according to the printout on the labels there is plenty of sugar in coleslaw.

Targeting fundraising sausage sizzles as part of the governments’ fight against obesity is a joke. No one relies on sausage sizzles as a regular weekly meal source. Not only that but healthier food tends to be more expensive and it is hard enough to make a profit these days selling sausages even if they have been donated. Sausage sizzles are about raising money, not about healthy eating. Imagine if schools were forced to sell carrot sticks door to door instead of chocolates. See the problem? The government should keep its interfering little paws out of the work that charities do. It is hard enough raising money these days without bureaucrats interfering.

Healthy Families Christchurch is working behind the scenes to make us healthier – starting with sausage sizzles.

The traditional sausage sizzle fundraiser is being given a healthy makeover as part of a scheme to improve Kiwis’ health.

The Government’s flagship chronic disease prevention programme Healthy Families is trying to convince charities to sell healthier foods, rather than the traditional fried sausages on white bread with tomato sauce.

Healthy Families Christchurch convinced the organisers of a major fun run event to make their sausage sizzle healthier and include healthy food vendors.

Manager Jill Borland said she was trying to improve the city’s health “by stealth”.

Family violence support service Aviva, which was the official sausage sizzle provider at the fun run, agreed to replace white bread for wholemeal, use low sugar tomato sauce, ditch the margarine and offer coleslaw with each sausage.

Aviva marketing and funding manager Julie McCloy said no-one noticed the changes and many even welcomed the coleslaw.

She said she would use the healthier version of the traditional fundraiser next time.

“People love sausage sizzles so if you can make it a little bit healthier, why not?”

There are 10 Healthy Families initiatives around New Zealand, introduced under former Health Minister Tony Ryall.

Healthy Families Invercargill came up with the initiative they called “choice as sizzle” as a way to “start the conversation” about healthy changes and demonstrate what Healthy Families was about, communications adviser Nathan Burdon said.

“Sausage sizzles were all over the place and we said what’s a visible way that we can get our message out there.”

Healthy Families staff contacted community groups booked to hold sausage sizzles outside The Warehouse and asked them to consider the healthy tweaks.

After the three month trial 80 per cent of the groups said they would consider sticking with the healthy version in future.

“Obviously it’s not a silver bullet for our global obesity problem but it has allowed us to start some conversations and get people thinking about other changes they can make.”

Borland said she hoped the healthy sausage sizzle idea would spread throughout Christchurch.

Healthy Families role was to change attitudes towards health by working with communities…


– Sunday Star Times


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