When you think about your most productive day at work last week, does anything stand out as the reason for the productivity boost? For many, a good night’s sleep is just what the doctor ordered to have you feeling better the next day. For others, it’s working out in the morning or going for a jog the night before. But the activity that most people can agree most profoundly affects how they feel at work is what they ate for lunch.
As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” There’s a reason this statement is still around — it’s true. The days when you have something fast, salty and greasy, you probably feel bogged down and tired afterward. The days when you have something a bit more healthy, you’ll likely feel more equipped to take on the rest of the workday.
Employees and management teams alike can benefit from discovering healthy eating strategies as part of a balanced diet to improve office life for everyone at your workplace.
The Benefits of Healthy Eating in the Workplace
The benefits of practicing good nutrition and diet in the workplace extend far beyond personal health benefits. Of course, everyone can stand to eat healthier to lose a few pounds or reach various health-related goals. But eating healthier in your workplace can have some of the following effects, which can take everyone’s workdays to the next level:
- Increased productivity: Eating healthier at work can help everyone achieve a greater level of productivity throughout the day. Everyone knows the feeling of eating junk food at work and feeling less productive for the rest of the day. When you eat healthier meals and office snacks at work, you could keep your productivity levels higher to achieve all your work tasks in the most productive manner possible.
- Higher morale: A recent study showed that eating more fruits and vegetables can increase one’s satisfaction and happiness in life. Every employer and employee should want to harness the potential benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables for improving mood at work. Even if you love your job, it’s completely normal to feel some burnout once in a while. You can resist burnout and boost your morale at work when you practice healthier workplace eating.
- A more collaborative workplace: Eating healthier and promoting healthy eating at work can also help your workplace become more collaborative. People will start encouraging each other to eat healthier, and many workers may start eating healthier in the office together. These practices can carry over into regular work time, helping your team to work better together than ever before.
- Better and more sustainable energy levels: When we eat, our bodies convert food to energy — but different foods provide different effects. Carb-heavy foods usually provide an immediate boost in energy, but the lethargic crash is soon to follow. Processed meats and high-protein foods usually offer more sustained energy, but our bodies work harder to get those nutrients. Eating healthier at work can ensure you get the nutrients your body craves for easy, sustained energy for higher productivity.
Before Getting Started
Before launching a workplace health promotion strategy, you need to make sure you’re doing it the right way. One of the first things you can do to achieve your goal of fostering a healthier work environment is to take voluntary employee surveys about their health-related goals. You can then use the answers to the questions to take the next step toward creating a successful healthy eating program for you and your employees.
Here are three important questions you should ask in your survey:
- Are you interested in a healthy eating program, and why? This crucial question gauges the interest your workforce has in participating in a healthy eating program. The “why” takes it a step further, so you can find out your employee’s unique needs and what they would want to achieve through the potential health program.
- Do you want general information or a more involved program? This question lets you know the extent to which your program should reach. If most of your employees want general information so they can take their health into their own hands, then a more involved program may be unpopular. But if a majority of your workers want a program they can actively participate in, then you can feel confident offering them a program that satisfies that need.
- Do you want a seasonal or a year-round program? The answers to this question will help you know when you should offer your health program. There are pros and cons to seasonal and year-round programs, so determine which type your employees want most and why.
Besides taking an employee survey, you can also conduct employee health screenings and risk assessments. Doing so provides the following valuable insight:
- You’ll have a better idea of the state of your employees’ health situations.
- You’ll be able to see how your health strategy is performing over time and if it is helping your employees gain positive results.
- You’ll better know any adjustments or changes you need to make to your health food strategy to make it more effective.
8 Ways to Promote Healthy Eating
Once you’ve taken the preliminary steps, you’ll be ready to start implementing your workplace’s healthy eating strategy. You want your new plan to be as successful as possible, so be sure to incorporate the following eight tips to help you promote healthier eating in your workplace.
1. Conduct Educational Campaigns
Once you’ve started your healthy eating campaign, one of the best ways you can promote it and help it reach its fullest potential is by educating your workforce. Some of your workers may be unaware of the benefits of proper nutrition and diet in both their personal lives and their work lives. Others may have an idea of those benefits, but they lack the urgency to make the decision for healthier eating.
With the right educational campaigns, you can bring more of your employees on board for your healthy eating program. Send out educational newsletters, conduct healthy eating lunch and learns and even offer special, hands-on cooking classes to help your employees gain the knowledge they need to achieve a healthier diet.
2. Make It Easy
You want to make sure eating healthier in your workplace is easier for everyone. Some people may have zero issues packing a healthy lunch the night before work or avoiding the nearby drive-thru on their lunch break. For others, these positives steps can be quite difficult, especially if they’ve been participating in unhealthy habits.
Encourage more people to participate to make the change easier and more appealing to the people who are having difficulty getting started. You can also make it easier by offering healthy snacks or even a meal plan to your employees so they can always have easy access to healthy, nutritious food.
3. Make it Clear
Your healthy eating strategy needs to be clear and easy to follow for everyone in your workforce. The last thing you want is for some of your workers to miss out on all the benefits of healthy eating because the program was too confusing for them to find success.
Healthy eating may be a new practice for many people, but it can also be an enlightening experience. The goal of your program should be to show people that healthy eating is more than easy — it’s worth it. Clearly lay out what your employees must do to participate in the program, and be sure to let them know the clear results of how healthy eating can benefit their lives.
4. Provide Incentives
Everyone loves some extra motivation to help them reach their goals. You can give your workforce the extra motivation they need to eat healthier at work by providing some incentives. Here are some examples of incentives that could work for your team:
- Extra paid vacation time for achieving new health and wellness goals
- Company trips for achieving company-wide goals
- Tiered incentives that give people incremental goals, like eating healthy foods for a week to receive a free meal at work the following week
5. Provide & Promote Lunch Breaks
Earlier, we mentioned making healthy eating easier for your employees. Taking that concept a step further, you can help your employees eat healthier at work by providing and promoting lunch breaks for them. Doing this gives you a say in what your employees eat and when they eat, helping you make sure they’re eating healthy foods and that they have enough time to do so.
Carve out some time in the workday for your employees to enjoy a healthy meal away from their desks. You can also provide lunches on occasion, offering the best food for work, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. This will help bridge the gap between healthy eating and work lunches in your employees’ minds.
6. Offer Group Activities & Challenges
Another great tip for improving participation and success rates is to offer group activities and challenges to your employees. These will give your employees the opportunity to work together to achieve shared and individual goals. Activities can include cooking sessions, occasional lunch and learns and even afternoon walks. In terms of offered challenges, you can have your employees go beyond their goals to achieve even healthier eating habits and have prizes waiting for them on the other side.
7. Bring People Together
As you can tell from this list of tips, many of the best solutions for promoting your health food plan involve communal activities. People love taking new steps together, and the same is true of eating healthier at work. What may seem hard for an individual is much easier for a group that shares similar diet and nutrition goals. Make sure people can participate in challenges, engage in educational opportunities and eat lunches in groups to instill a more unified bond among your workforce.
8. Offer Awards
Awards are powerful ways to let people know they were successful and that you’ve recognized their hard work. Consider offering special awards to individuals and teams who show superb growth on their journey toward eating healthier and feeling better at work.
Prizes like gift cards, new fitness technology and even paid cooking classes are great ways to encourage people to join in your new health program. Offer these prizes based on employees reaching personal or group goals or for showing excellent leadership in what it means to eat healthier at work. These awards can inspire more people to join in and improve their workplace eating habits.
Changing for a Better Future
Eating healthy can help more than how you and your employees feel at work. It can affect how you feel at home and in all other areas of your life. Choosing to eat healthy means you’re ready to change for a better future — one in which you can experience the following health benefits:
- Better heart health
- Reduced risk of cancer
- An overall better mood
- Improved gut health
- Improved memory functioning
- Healthy weight loss
- Easier diabetes management
- Stronger bones and teeth:
- More restful nights
You are what you eat, and eating healthy foods ensures your body gets the essential nutrients it needs to fight disease and keep your body and mind functioning at peak performance levels. But perhaps even more importantly, eating healthy now gives the next generation a better example to follow. If you and your employees can show the children in your life how to eat healthily, then they will, too — paving the way for a better future for everyone.
How American Dining Creations Can Help
Partnering with a professional hospitality service can help your company launch a successful healthy eating campaign for your workforce. American Dining Creations is the solution you’ve been looking for. We offer healthy dining solutions for businesses looking to offer their employees better food options to enhance their lives both at work and at home.
Our online menus offer nutritional information so your employees can always know what they’re putting into their bodies for every work meal. We also offer the Amerifit app, which lets users scan items so they can clearly and easily see more information about the available food options. We also put an emphasis on superfoods and fresh harvest options so your workers can get the essential nutrients they need, fresh from the earth, freshly prepared by our chefs.
We also provide business dining marketing solutions to engage with your workforce. This solution can raise awareness for healthy eating in the workplace and help your employees feel more involved with the new changes toward eating healthier meals at work.
Contact American Dining Creations Today to Experience the Fresh Difference
If you’re ready to take the next step toward a healthier and happier workforce, choose American Dining Creations as your business hospitality partner. We set ourselves apart from other companies by offering comprehensive dining solutions to meet your food-related needs. And with our strong emphasis on healthy foods, you can feel confident that your workforce is getting the nutrients they need to stay productive, energetic and positive throughout the workday.
Contact us online today for more information or to reach out to begin the process of partnering with us. We look forward to serving you!