Creating a Focus on Healthy Nutrition in the Workplace
As many companies began to invest in health and wellness programs, the initial focus was placed on increasing the physical activity of its participants. Only recently has nutrition become integrated into these programs, to provide a holistic approach to health. As a result, to support their employees, companies have invested in creating innovative eating environments, providing access to a variety of interesting and healthy food options, and, offering education to support healthy food choices. Companies have already found these investments can lead to higher employee morale, productivity, and an overall healthier workforce.
Nutrition has become an important element of corporate health and wellness programs, and it makes sense. As employees spend on average 40% of their waking hours at work, creating nutritional good habits while at work can help to establish a healthy approach to eating when at home. Companies supporting good nutrition have invested in three areas: creating vibrant eating areas, offering healthy and nutritious eating options, and providing the nutritional education necessary to learn what works for each individual.
Creating a Vibrant Eating Environment
Setting a trend in the tech community, companies that include Google, AirBNB, DropBox, and Facebook have invested heavily in offering their employees vibrant spaces to meet and eat. They have created cool, innovative locations where their employees can come together, socialize, and eat at various times of the day. These tech companies see their cafeterias not only as choice places to spend time, but also as valuable recruitment tools to attract and retain top talent.
While your company may not have the budget of a Facebook or AirBNB, steps can be taken to provide an environment where your employees can meet, socialize, and eat healthy. The location could either be the office building or corporate cafeteria, or even the break room at the end of the hall. Creating an environment that encourages your employees to take a break from their work, spend time with colleagues, and eat can be highly beneficial.
Offering an Assortment of Healthy, Nutritious Options
At Google, you can find a number of cafeterias that offer an awe-inspiring choose of foods. Employees and their guests can choose from ethnically diverse options, to selections that support various nutritional preferences. Outside of the cafeteria, you can roam the halls and find juice bars that serve fresh fruit drinks and wheatgrass shots.
Companies today have many options to offer creative and healthy options to their employees. Companies can work with corporate cafeterias to offer enticing and interesting menu selections. They can order in from a local chain that provides healthy options. Or, they can rely on one of the home or office food delivery services like LeanBox to healthy, fresh food is available. Outside of the lunch hour, sugary snacks and drinks can be swapped in favor of healthier options. And, unhealthy vending machines can be replaced with ones that provide organic or whole foods like the HUMAN vending machine.
And, Providing Eduction to Support Healthy Eating
Hand-in-hand with offering healthy food options is providing education to support employees with their weight loss and healthy eating goals. Providing nutritional details for food items alone will not help an employee who is unsure of how to put that information in the context of their own eating needs and goals. Nutrition education can be designed to be interesting, fun, and engaging. By holding group classes or interactive “lunch and learns”, building a community for those trying to lose weight, or starting a wellness newsletter — each can go a long way to engage and educate your employees.
By creating a vibrant, social eating space, ensuring your employees have access to healthy food options, and educating your employees on good nutrition — you can ensure your company is doing its part to create a healthy work environment. In turn, you will see a more motivated workforce, an increase in productivity, a reduction in sick days, and savings in overall health care costs.
EatWellRx is a personalized nutrition mhealth engagement solution that sets out to tackle the growing obesity epidemic and its contribution to preventable chronic disease. EatwellRx’s mobile application makes it easy for individuals to access just-in-time, personally tailored healthy meal options when eating out or ordering in from nearby restaurants. EatwellRx can be integrated into employer wellness programs to promote and reward healthy eating.