Healthy Workplace: Eating Right

In this second installment in the Healthy Workplace Series—an initiative to promote healthy habits for employers and employees—we are tackling healthy eating. It’s estimated that a person’s weight is determined 80% by diet (10% each by genetics and activity level). With this in mind, eating right is the best thing you can do for yourself to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle! Plus, healthy employees help a company’s bottom line. Here are a few tips for employers trying to promote employee wellness and healthy habits with nutritious food.

Makeover your Vending Machines

You knew this one was coming, right? Break room vending machines are notorious for their unhealthy choices. Don’t force employees who are eating right to choose between the same two sad choices (baked chips and sunflower seeds)! Try swapping out some of those candy bars and chips (do you really need both Nacho Cheese AND Cool Ranch Doritos?) for healthier alternatives like trail mix, cereal bars, dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels. If you really want to promote eating right and employee wellness, consider getting a healthy vending machine, or a refrigerated vending machine that could dispense fresh fruit, yogurt, and juice drinks. And don’t forget to offer low-calorie drinks in the soda machine!

Designate a Healthy Food Day

Many workplaces have small food events or potlucks from time to time (if you don’t, this is a great way to get started!). Designate one of those food days to be a healthy food potluck. Have everyone bring in their favorite healthy dish to share, and remember to exchange recipes at the end of the day. Also consider the healthy habit of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your regular food events. Instead of asking for a volunteer to bring cookies, encourage someone to bring a fresh fruit tray to promote eating right.

Also be sure to offer healthy snacks during meetings and other food events at work. Everyone just crashes from the sugar high after that donut anyway. That doesn’t help employee wellness or participation at your 10 am meeting.

Spread the Word

Set aside space on your break room bulletin board for sharing healthy recipes and posting ideas for developing healthy habits. If the idea has a little trouble getting off the ground, HR managers can take the initiative and post some good articles. Also consider setting aside space in your company newsletter for employee wellness information and healthy recipes. Ask different employees to contribute recipes and tips so that everyone has a greater stake in the conversation.

How do you promote healthy habits and employee wellness in your workplace? Share your best tips below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb #healthyworkplace

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by jonlclark

  • rorytrotter86

    Kristin, I love the idea of staying healthy in the workplace – particularly the healthy food day.
     
    As far as overhauling the vending machines, I think this is an idea that also has some potential, but before this is done there really needs to be some employee buy-in, I think.
     
    Thanks for sharing (as always), and keep writing.
     
    Best,
     
    Rory

    • @rorytrotter86 I, too, liked Kristin’s healthy potluck idea.
       
      It’s a simple and realistic change-up, take the normal office function of a potluck and make it a requirement to offer healthier items. Oreo pie still makes the cut right?
       
      Thanks for commenting, Rory.
       
      -Patrick