Why your kids need healthier options when eating out


The typical kids meal at restaurants is generally just one that’s half the portion size of an adult meal, with a fruit juice and occasional plastic toy thrown in. But with obesity rates of South African kids rising, here’s why that needs to change.

Terry Harris, a dietitian at Discovery Vitality, understands the convenience of eating out, as well as the ease of giving into a kid’s demands at a fast food counter or restaurant. Given that eating out is often inevitable in a fast-paced modern society, she knows that making healthier meal choices at food outlets is crucial to kids’ wellbeing.

Parents need to lead by example when it comes to healthy eating

According to the 2017 Vitality ObeCity Index, in 35 years (1980 to 2015) the prevalence of obesity in South African girls has increased by 3% and in boys by 2%. But there’s lasting value in being a good role model to your children, who learn priorities from what they see acted out in their homes, Harris says.

Over the same 35 years, obesity prevalence in adult South African men has also risen by 2%, and in women by a significant 14%. “The increase in obesity prevalence among women is especially concerning because they are typically a family’s primary caregiver, and need to lead by example.”

According to Harris, having overweight parents is a strong determinant for childhood overweight, with just one overweight parent already increasing the risk. This makes healthy eating an essential life skill for parents to learn themselves, and to pass on to their children.

Healthy homecooked meals are first choice – but life happens

Research shows that home-cooked meals are more likely to increase fruit and vegetable intake, lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, reduce the likelihood of being overweight and improve overall cardiometabolic health.

“This means that buying less processed, healthy ingredients and preparing meals from them is obviously first choice when it comes to ensuring your family gets the nutrition they need,” Harris says. “But we all know that life happens, and this isn’t always feasible.”

So, parents might ask, what’s a healthy but realistic solution when a series of events lead to the familiar supper time scenario of: ‘we need ready food now!’

The Vitality HealthyDining benefit incentivises healthier eat-out options

Understanding the dilemma of a conscientious parent in such cases is what’s brought Discovery Vitality into partnership with Uber Eats. Their brand-new Vitality HealthyDining benefit offers members up to 25% cash back on healthier meal choices when ordering food at home from partner restaurants – Col’Cacchio, Doppio Zero, Nando’s and Ocean Basket.

To help encourage healthier eating behaviours from a young age, all children under 12 on a Vitality policy automatically earn 50% cash back on Vitality kids’ healthy meals.

Healthier meal choices refer to meal options identified on HealthyDining partner restaurant menus that meet certain criteria, like being lower in salt and added sugar; high in vegetables or fruit; and including wholegrains and higher fibre starches, as well as healthy fats. The meals contain only moderate amounts of red meat and no processed meats. They’re also prepared using healthier cooking methods, like baking or grilling instead of deep-frying.

How Vitality and Uber Eats are making healthier meals easier than ever

Vitality is launching HealthyDining first with Uber Eats on 6 May 2019, and in restaurants later this year. The benefit comes at no extra cost for Vitality members, who can activate it online or by logging into their Discovery app. Members can maximise their Vitality cash back to up to 25% by finding out their Vitality Age and completing a Vitality Health Check.

Harris says, “Vitality has the clinical data from the HealthyFood benefit to prove that helping people make small behavioural changes which collectively improve the nutritional quality of their meal choices can go a long way in improving their health over the long term. That’s where the new Vitality HealthyDining comes in – it makes the healthier choice an easy choice by incentivising healthier alternatives while ordering takeout.”

The nudge towards better nutrition

“So much of good parenting is nudging our children to adopt habits and attitudes that will help them to thrive in adulthood,” she reflects. “And all parents know how important it is to receive encouraging prompts that help kids focus on long-term outcomes in favour of instant gratification.”

“Likewise, when we’re most vulnerable to unhealthy, salty and sugar-laden temptation, Vitality HealthyDining benefit does just that – by nudging people to adjust their current behaviours and opt for tasty but healthier alternatives whenever they can.” 

Discovery Vitality members can activate Vitality HealthyDining, by downloading the latest version of the Discovery app on their App Store or on Google Play. Find out more about the new Vitality HealthyDining benefit here.


No more excuses – Vitality HealthyDining is here

With the new Vitality HealthyDining benefit and Uber Eats, making healthier choices has never been easier. Now you can get up to 25% cash back on healthier meal choices and 50% cash back on Vitality kids’ healthy meals when you dine in with Uber Eats.

To get started, activate Vitality HealthyDining on the latest Discovery app by following these four easy steps:

1. Open the latest Discovery app and click ‘Vitality.’ Then click ‘HealthyDining’ and follow the steps until you get your unique code.

2. Link Uber Eats to Discovery Vitality by adding your unique code to your Uber Eats app. This can be found under the “Promotions” tab in your Uber Eats profile.

3. Scroll or search for any one of the participating restaurants, which include Col’Cacchio, Doppio Zero, Ocean Basket and Nando’s.

4. Select the Vitality HealthyDining category at the top of the menu to order healthier meal choices and earn cash back.

Find out more about the new Vitality HealthyDining benefit here.

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