Healthy Food = Healthy Firm
If you don’t make time for health, then illness will make time for you later. Health is often put at the bottom of the priority list, however it drives every aspect of our lives, both work and play.
Eating a well-balanced diet in integral to maintaining health and has been shown to boost concentration, improve performance, increase mood and self-esteem as well as reducing anxiety and stress and the risk of ill health and disease. As an employer, a healthy workforce not only means a happy workforce but fewer sick days and increased productivity as well. A good working atmosphere with low levels of stress is in turn essential for a positive corporate image. Healthy eating can be encouraged by making a few simple changes to the working environment.
• Having healthy snacks available – reducing the number of high fat snacks in vending machines
• Ensuring canteens offer healthy eating options every day e.g. salad bar, sandwiches with low-fat fillers on wholemeal bread, jacket potato and low-fat toppings e.g. tuna.
• Having easy to access chilled drinking water available
• Ensuring suitable facilities for washing up
• Ensuring crockery and utensils are provided
• Providing a fridge for storing chilled items and microwave/toaster for re-heating food
• Providing clean, bright, smoke-free areas/canteen for lunch-time and breaks
The key to bringing your work colleagues on board with healthy eating is to host department wide initiatives such as opening a healthy ‘tuck-shop’, hosting work-shops on healthy eating and displaying posters/information about nutrition e.g. having a picture of the Food Standard Agency’s Eat Well Plate on the kitchen wall.
Involving the whole team with ideas for promoting health is a good idea, with the possibility of introducing a ‘sweet/biscuit’ ban except for designated days of the week or month – if sugary foods are on offer then sugary foods shall be eaten! Encourage work colleagues to swap the biscuit tin for the fruit bowl – fruit has a low glycaemic index which means that it releases its energy slowly (as opposed to biscuits or energy drinks which give a short-term energy boost).
Offering incentives such as cheaper healthy snacks, reduced gym memberships or discounted membership of weight-loss groups could be the kick start that everyone needs.. and it could be the key to increased productivity and ultimately profit/improved company status. Speak to your local green grocers or gym for healthy business collaborations waiting to happen!