We have all heard the saying, “You are what you eat”, but what does it really mean? The main idea behind the saying is to emphasise the health and wellbeing of people and how food is a huge factor. Eating healthy will make you healthy and vice versa. This brings us to the point where we must be more mindful of what we consume.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for over 70% of all deaths globally. NCDs include stroke, heart disease and diabetes etc. An unhealthy diet is one of the causes. It is of utmost importance that unhealthy diets and habits are excluded for the betterment of individuals and our community. Some of the unhealthy behaviours include lack of exercise, addiction and an imbalance in diet.
Encouraging a healthy diet in the workplace would benefit not only the employees’ wellbeing but also the general workplace wellbeing. There will be more productivity, and employees’ satisfaction levels will be higher. When employees are healthy, they will automatically be happier and more engaged.
A healthy diet is critical to employees’ health and overall success. Considering this, organisations should put their time and investment into ensuring it. We sometimes forget how great the impact of food is on our performance and productivity. Food provides us with energy. The level and type of energy provided are dependent on the type of food. With the intake of more fruits and vegetables, there is more satisfaction. With satisfaction comes fulfilment among employees, which makes them more loyal to their companies.
It is important to identify and understand the need to implement a healthy eating program within the workplace. This can be done by asking a simple question of why there is a need for implementing the program. This can be asked of the employees as well. It will help in identifying their special needs. It will also help in the overall process of catering to their needs which could include losing weight, getting better in particular areas or just the overall improvement of their moods.
It is one of the responsibilities of the wellbeing manager to ensure their employees acquire knowledge regarding their diets and what is and isn’t considered healthy eating. There are a variety of ways to educate employees. Some of these are as follows:
- Nutritious recipes could be incorporated into your weekly email/newsletter.
- A nutritionist can be invited to cooking classes.
- Social media challenges can be held promoting healthy healing with the integration of hashtags like #eatclean #healthy lifestyle #[yourbrand]contest. Social media could also allow employees to share their favourite recipes.
- Workshops can be held in collaboration with cooking schools or health groups.
- Discounts on cooking classes can be provided.
- Arranging seminars and inviting health experts to speak on relevant topics could also be ways of educating employees.
Encourage Healthy Behaviour
For mental and physical wellness, healthy behaviours must be followed and encouraged. Breakfast is one of the important meals of the day and eating breakfast should be encouraged. The organisation itself can also provide fresh fruits in the morning. Other healthy snacks could also be offered for breakfast to ensure a healthy start to the day for the employees.
Emphasis on drinking water and staying hydrated could be made. Apps or social media could be used to create these stay-hydrated challenges. Employees could be given rewards to keep them motivated to participate and win these challenges. Other ways of ensuring the workforce stay hydrated could include:
- Having free cubes of fruits available for the employees adds to their water, making it more delicious yet healthy at the same time.
- Having the water refilling stations near the desks or, if jugs of water are being used, placing them all over the workplace. If you can afford it, give out company water bottles.
To create a healthy workplace culture, you can take additional steps to show your employees you care for their wellbeing. These could include adding healthier food options in:
- Break rooms
- Company events
- Onsite fitness facilities
- Vending machines
- Company meetings
Temptation should be removed for the employees and unhealthy snacks should be replaced from all these different areas and should be substituted with healthier options.
Because corporate wellness is important, healthy eating should be encouraged and promoted within the workplace. You should lead by example and build a healthier culture within your organisation. Conversations about workplace wellbeing should be encouraged. A comfortable environment should be built so the employees can execute changes they want to make to their lifestyle to make it healthier.