By Lucia Weiler, RD, PHEc
You may be surprised to hear that eating well on the job could improve your concentration and productivity. Other benefits of workplace wellness programs include better employee morale, reduced absenteeism and turnover and enhanced recruiting.
Since many of us spend eight hours a day – and probably more – at work, let’s make them count for health and wellness.
Why Promote Wellness in the Workplace?
Worksite health promotion is an investment in your most important asset: your employees. Surveys show that 87% of employees have personal goals to eat healthier foods; 57% of employees are living with at least one chronic health condition; and 45% of Canadians find it challenging to eat healthy meals/snacks at work. Since Canadians’ interest in food and health continues to grow, leverage this growing demand in your employee-wellness experience.
Three steps you can take to build healthier people and a healthier workplace through good food
The power of food can enhance people’s lives and improve health. Here are three tips to help you and your workplace benefit from the power of food. For more information, contact a Registered Dietitian – Canada’s go-to food and nutrition experts.
1. Fill half your plate with vegetables
Wherever you are eating, look to fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Divide the rest of your plate equally between protein foods such as meat, poultry, fish, legumes and tofu, and fibre-rich carbohydrate foods like brown rice or other whole grains. This simple visual can help you manage your portions and enjoy a well-balanced meal.
2. Make water your drink of choice
Coffee break? You may enjoy a cup of coffee or tea to help you wake up in the morning, but water is the healthiest beverage choice. If caffeine bothers you, switch to herbal teas or decaffeinated tea or coffee. Be sure to replace sugary drinks with water in your beverage bottle and in the workplace cafeteria and vending machines.
3. Enjoy a variety of foods and learn more about good nutrition and workplace wellness
Eating well means living well. Discover more about healthy food and feel more confident in your food choices. Consider workplace wellness programs that give employees access to dietitians, Canada’s most trusted food and nutrition experts. Here are examples of some popular workplace wellness initiatives that you can implement:
Lunch ’n Learn – Health Challenge in Action
Invite a dietitian to kick-start a healthy food challenge with employee teams. Engage human resources and your wellness committee to focus on issues most relevant to your team. Perhaps themes, like boosting energy or improving relationships with foods, might be of interest.
Some workplace teams may be ready to tackle key steps to prevent and control diabetes and heart disease. Working with dietitians can reduce health-related lost productivity by 64% and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 70%.
Online information sessions about health risks and healthy lifestyle choices
Get up to date on the key areas of nutrition with registered dietitians who translate the science of nutrition and deliver reliable, life-changing advice. Convenient online sessions expose common myths related to nutrition and provide support for healthy living. Topics such as an introduction to nutrition, food labeling and healthy eating all have a practical application to work and personal life.
- Mumby, Workplace Wellness
- Chronic Disease in the Workplace: Focus on Prevention and Support
- Dietitians of Canada