Restaurants and cafes are being encouraged to offer consumers more healthy options with the launch of a new initiative.

The Healthy Families Catering Award, launched by Darlington Borough Council, aims to encourage restaurants and cafes to offer a wider choice of healthy foods.

Town centre restaurants Uno Momento and Al Forno have worked with the council to improve their healthy offering in their children’s menus, with their meals not exceeding government guidelines for calories and portion sizing for children under the age of 11.

Both restaurants achieved the gold extension of the award by incorporating techniques to support behaviour change, such as including fruits and vegetables on the menu and encouraging healthy drinks.

The council said the new initiative will help realise its Childhood Healthy Weight Plan, which aims to support young people's physical health and provide access to healthy foods.

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, the authority's cabinet member for health and housing, said: “The healthy families catering award is a fantastic initiative offering families more opportunities to make appealing healthy choices when they eat out.

“The award is a step towards making choosing the healthy choice easier for our families and we look forward to awarding many more of our tasty cafes and restaurants the prestigious award in the not too distant future.”