Promoting healthy nutrition at the workplace
Malnutrition is a global issues and healthy eating and food safety are basic facets of a healthy living. A working adult spends about 60 percent of waking hours at the work place and eats about third of their daily meal at the workplace. For adults to make healthier food choices, the workplace will be an ideal environment to start with. The workplace has got a captive audience if healthy eating will be supported and encouraged. Promoting healthy eating at the workplace will not only create a healthy working environment but will also increase productivity level of workers and promote sound business.
Employers are encouraged to promote healthy eating habits among their workers because healthy eating will improve staff morale and motivate them to live a healthier and happier lifestyle there by reducing sickness absences from work. Making the workplace nutrition friendly combine with active lifestyle can lead to:
- Reduction in diet related conditions such as heart disease
- Will improve on self-esteem, mood and energy
- Reduction of stress and anxiety
- Prolong life span and improves on overall health of individual.
How do you to start?
The most difficult part is how to start when it comes to promoting healthy nutrition at the work place. To promote healthy nutrition at workplace, employers can motivate their workers to start with small simple diet changes coupled with little physical activity amongst the staff. How then can we promote healthy nutrition at the workplace?
The first and bold step is to start with healthy eating program at the workplace: Healthy eating program can be part of the many activities that the company partake in. This can bring people together to learn on how to improve on what to eat at work and even at home and it can be part of a health program. The program should focus on the main message of promoting healthy nutrition. It is important to offer wide range of topic options that will interest the captive audience example is fats and cholesterol. Give them materials in a form of simple fliers that will help them in shopping for groceries and meal planning, making healthier choices when ordering food at the restaurant or canteen, how to read and understand food labels, cooking tips for healthy meal and many others that will help the staff in taking control of their daily diet intake. There can be posters in various offices and cafeterias promoting healthy eating behaviors that will capture the attention of its workers while they work or eat.
The workplace should have influence on what and how people eat at the workplace: the workplace can promote healthy eating environment by influencing where their lunch comes from. It is always important for a company to have some level of control on where the lunch of the staffs are coming from. Occupational health and safety law requires a company to have a clean and safe eating area. Also, an employer should always look at the various food options offered at the cafeteria of the staff. Ensure the staff cafeteria is supporting healthy eating behavior through the food and drinks options they provide. All employees should have access to a wide range of healthy meals they can select from. During staff meetings and training sessions, only wide range of healthy meals should be provided.
Foods served at the cafeteria should promote the eating of at least one green vegetable or an orange a day, vegetables and fruits prepared with no added fat, sugar or salt, lean meat with no added fat, lower fat milk alternatives, fruits and vegetables more than taking juices, half of the grains being whole grains each day, meat alternatives such beans, fish and tofu and also satisfy your thirst with water instead of fruit juice. Snacks such as whole grain crackers, dried fruits roasted nuts and maize can be kept in the desk whiles green salad, fresh fruits, raw vegetables, low fat yoghurts can be kept in the fridge at the workplace for snacking.
Fresh fruits, raw vegetables, salads, lean sliced meat, roasted maize, roasted plantain, grilled yam, sandwiches, wholegrain breads, vegetable stew with boiled yam or plantain, natural homemade juices with no added sugars among others should be served during workshops, meetings and training sessions instead of chips, juices, coffees, cookies, carbonated drinks among others. Some drinks can cause more urine output than the amount of fluid consumed. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and some sodas can increase urine output than the amount of fluid consumed. Avoid or limit the intake of caffeinated drinks and some sodas. Food served should be warm at all times and hygiene should also be maintain to promote the overall health of the staffs. Encourage and support staff and colleagues in your workplace to make healthier lifestyle choices now and forever because promoting healthy nutrition is a teamwork.