March is national nutrition month. As a company that’s in the business of health and wellness, this is one of our favorite times of year.
Nutrition is an important aspect of overall workplace health, but many people find it hard to follow a nutritious and balanced eating plan – especially at work. In fact, nearly half of Americans are living with chronic diseases that are at least partially preventable through what and how much you eat—conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. .
Because employees often spend mealtimes at work, it makes sense to focus on promoting healthy eating habits in the workplace. Employees who eat well have more energy and are more productive than those who skip meals or eat unhealthy foods. They also tend to have fewer medical problems, which adds up to major healthcare savings for employers.
Companies that are serious about improving the health status of their employees should consider adopting policies and procedures that help encourage healthy eating in the workplace. Allow employees enough time to consume a healthy meal during lunch, and encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day to have a nutritious snack. If you have vending machines, think about providing healthier snack options and posting nutrition information so your employees can make informed choices.
Providing an office kitchen, refrigerator, and microwave oven can make it easier for workers to bring a healthy meal from home, rather than eating at a restaurant for lunch. If your facility includes an onsite cafeteria or restaurant, make sure that it stocks a variety of nutritious and appetizing menu options.
Organizations that offer a corporate health and wellness program can include interventions that encourage healthy eating. Wellness challenges focused on nutrition are a great way to motivate employees to eat better, as are awareness campaigns and seminars. Some employers even offer nutrition coaches, registered dietitians and onsite cooking demonstrations using healthy recipes.
The workplace environment can also provide a built-in support network for employees who want to lose weight or improve their eating habits. Encourage employees to prepare and eat a healthy lunch together, away from their desks, and suggest that managers set a good example for other team members by making time to eat well during the workday.
An employee wellness committee can also be a great resource for supporting healthy food choices and creating a culture of nutrition in the workplace.
To celebrate national nutrition month, why not treat your employees to a healthy snack? Workplace-friendly snacks that are both tasty and nutritious include:
- Carrot or celery sticks with hummus
- Greek yogurt with mixed berries and nuts
- Bananas with almond or natural peanut butter
- Mixed nuts
- Energy bars made with natural ingredients (look for products high in protein and low in sugar)
- Fresh-fruit smoothies
Consider setting up a vending booth in the lobby or employee break room. You may also want to think about providing free whole fruit such as apples, oranges, blueberries or grapes – either once a week or on an ongoing basis.
As a vital component of workplace health, nutrition should be included in every health and wellness program. At Healthstat, we’re inspiring healthy change with onsite health clinics and wellness solutions that focus on employee nutrition. Even at our corporate office, we are excited to be welcoming a new healthy vending machine, offering healthy items at a discount!
Build a healthier business with Healthstat by downloading this guide about onsite clinics.