The new year is a time when many people attempt a health reset, whether that means getting a gym membership or committing to a diet. However, resolutions rarely last through the year when the bar is set too high.
To help your team stay on the right track, you can bring healthy eating habits into the workplace. Consider the following strategies so you and your employees can collectively embrace better well-being this year.
1. Provide Healthy Food Selections
Make it a goal to offer and eat healthier snacks in the office. Many people are guilty of indulging in unhealthy options because they are cheaper and more convenient. If your employees usually eat junk food in the afternoon, consider stocking up on nutritious snacks.
The more fruits and vegetables people eat, the more creative and productive they are at the workplace. Consider including bananas, berries, yogurt, and mixed nuts in your pantry.
2. Encourage Healthy Eating Challenges
Another strategy to improve participation and high success rates is to offer group challenges. You can launch a cook-off battle where groups should create a healthy dish in under 30 minutes. Another idea is a charcuterie board game — individuals who arrange the most elegant serving win.
Aside from these fun competitions, consider promoting meal prep to assist employees in saving time and money. Studies have found that people who plan meals in advance are more likely to follow nutritional guidelines. Designate a week for the entire team to showcase their recipes and monitor any improvements in their eating habits. A weekly or bi-weekly sharing session will foster a sense of shared progress among your team.
3. Conduct Nutritional Educational Campaigns
Educating your workforce is one of the best ways to promote healthy eating in and out of the office. Seminars or lunch-and-learns can highlight the benefits of proper nutrition in their personal and work lives. While some might already have the idea, they need extra push to take action.
If you want to double up on your efforts, you can launch a program offering individual consultation with a dietitian. Conversations with a professional can help your employees craft and stick to a personalized meal plan.
4. Make It a Rewarding Experience
Treat your employees whenever they treat their bodies right. When people have motivation, they’re more eager to achieve their goals. You can give your workforce this much-needed boost when you offer incentives for staying on track with their goals. When your staff as a whole reaches their healthy eating goals, consider rewarding them with paid leave, out-of-town company trips, or gift baskets of healthy food selections.
Be careful about obtaining health information about employees in furtherance of your wellness programs. The EEOC spells out what can and cannot be done with wellness programs offering financial rewards.
5. Encourage Communal Eating
Do you notice some employees who eat lunch at their desks? Try to discourage this habit through communal eating. Invite everyone to potluck lunches and get-togethers centered around healthy food.
You can form people into groups and assign them a corresponding food group. Ensure there’s a variety of food, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and seafood. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve heart health and decrease the risk of depression. Likewise, foods high in B-complex vitamins are known to boost energy and concentration.
6. Lead by Example
Workplace stress is still a concern among many employees in the U.S., with 77% of workers reporting work-related stress. Healthy eating can help counteract the negative impacts of job strain. As an employer, demonstrate habits that you want to see in your workplace.
It could be as simple as eating comfort foods, such as a bowl of warm oatmeal in the morning, which can boost serotonin levels and improve mood at work. You could also encourage conversations about your favorite nutritious snacks, showing your employees your commitment to healthy eating habits. While you can’t influence your staff’s habits outside the office, exhibiting model behavior can encourage small changes that lead to a healthier workplace.
Witness a Healthier and Happier Workforce
Employers need to walk a fine line between encouraging healthy eating and engaging in weight discrimination and body shaming. As yet, weight is not recognized as a physical disability that can be addressed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but body shaming can certainly create bad feelings in employees who are subject to jokes or other negative treatment based on their weight. Focus entirely on healthy eating. When you create a healthy eating environment for your employees, you help them care for themselves. Implementing these gestures motivates colleagues to perform well for your team.