People generally get most of their food from either food retail venues, where they buy foods to prepare and eat from home, or from food service venues, where they eat away from home. Grocery stores, corner stores, and farmers’ markets are examples of food retail venues. Restaurants (including quick serve), childcare facilities, schools, hospital and worksite cafeterias are examples of food service venues.
Having healthy food available and affordable in food retail and food service settings allows people to make healthier food choices. When healthy foods are not available, people may settle for foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutritional value. Thus, creating and supporting healthy food environments is an important part of public health work.
Many strategies can contribute to healthy food environments. These include:
- Applying nutrition standards in childcare facilities, schools, hospitals, and worksites.
- Providing incentives for supermarkets or farmers’ markets to establish their businesses in underserved areas.
- Having nutrition information and caloric content on restaurant and fast food menus.
Learn what you can do to help support people in making healthier food choices in your communities.
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