Getting Started With Food-Based Wellness Programs
As we ring in a new year, a lot of people have one thing on their mind: getting a solid start on their new year’s resolutions. For many, this includes focusing on healthy eating. With employee wellness programs gaining more credibility as an effective measure, you are in a unique position to help employees with this goal.
Not only does food wellness at work help employees achieve their personal goals, but it also can have a positive impact on overall productivity. Healthy eating coupled with an active lifestyle can lead to lessened stress, elevated moods, and reduced risk of heart disease for employees. Additionally, food wellness initiatives are relatively low-cost and easy to implement.
To get started, we recommend sending out a survey to identify how you can improve your food wellness efforts. Are employees frustrated with the types of snacks provided? Do people feel like they lack the resources to make a positive change? Or maybe, you’re doing it all right, and you should prioritize other pain points.
Here are a few initiatives that promote healthy eating:
- A “lunch-n-learn” speaker series to discuss healthy eating habits at work. Search for local organizations that focus on bringing food wellness and healthy eating habits to the workplace, or reach out to an expert to come in for a short discussion over lunch.
- Connect employees to healthy eating materials and information. The American Heart Association provides a Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit that is free to download. In the toolkit you will find information about incorporating healthy food practices into corporate wellness programs, as well as resources to share with employees, such as a guide to making healthier sandwiches. Another fun way to connect employees to information is to feature a healthy eating tip in your newsletter each month.
- Replace unhealthy office food with nutritious and colorful options, like fruit and vegetables. Say goodbye to the morning meeting pastries. While salty and sweet snacks are certainly delicious, they are also easy to mindlessly consume at work. By providing healthy and fresh options during meetings or around the office, you’re setting employees up for success. This guide provides a list of healthier snack ideas.
- Re-think your vending machine inventory. This will require contacting your vendor to understand your options. Look for products with lower sodium and minimal added sugar/sweetener. A few substitutions might go a long way!
- Encourage a real lunch break. If employees have the ability to set aside time to eat, they might be more mindful of their food choices. Additionally, this allows people to reset and recharge in the middle of the day.
Start now, and your employees will thank you later!