Maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle can be really difficult, particularly if you’re working full-time or are managing a business. Whilst it is not strictly your responsibility to ensure that your employees eat in a healthy manner, it is in your best interest to encourage healthy eating and diets in the workplace, as this can have many positive effects on your business’ productivity. Indeed, there are many convenient and tasty recipes like HelloFresh, which you can use to ensure your employees actually look forward to meal time at work.
So, what should be your plan of attack when encouraging healthy eating in the workplace?
Increase health knowledge
One of the first things you need to do as a manager is help improve the health knowledge of your staff and workers. Building this knowledge could come in the form of scheduling seminars on quick and easy recipes that are healthy and affordable. Consider hiring a nutritionist to come in during the week and discuss healthy eating habits with your staff and colleagues. You could even call it a “lunch n learn” day. It is really important that you build clear communication with your employees and clarify any questions they may have regarding the program. Your program needs to be framed around a purpose and if your aim is to help your employees work at a more productive level you should let them know exactly that!
Build positive attitudes
Another key component of implementing an effective healthy eating program is to help build positive attitudes towards healthy eating. Encouraging dieting and nutritional consumption is one thing; embracing such eating habits is a whole different ball game. There will definitely be some members of staff who will resist such change, which is understandable. Some people are less inclined to eat healthy, while others may view it as an unnecessary cost, or something that just wastes time and resources.
Either way, you need to help build positivity around healthy eating. One of the best ways of achieving this is to share stories of people whose lives changed for the better after dieting – it could be simply losing weight and getting back in shape, or something more significant, like new job opportunities after the weight was lost.
Incentivise the programs
Put simply, there will always be a select few that will not get involved in the program. However, there may be a larger number of individuals who choose to not get involved because of the viability and perceived benefits of scheme. In this situation, you need to incentivise and reward employees who get involved. How? Well, if your business is working in affiliation with a healthy food outlet, develop a loyalty points scheme, so employees are rewarded for their purchases. This will have the effect of stimulating demand and encouraging workers to participate, even if they were a little hesitant at first! Overall, incentivising your workers is a central part of enhancing employee management and performance.
Having said this, not all businesses have the financial capacity to provide in-house food options. If so, provide your workers with a list of restaurants in the local area that offer balanced meals. Be sure to stock the vending machines with healthier food options and reward workers who choose the healthier alternatives!
Plan the program
Some businesses don’t offer healthy eating programs throughout the entire year. For example, many businesses will often offer such programs after the holiday seasons, since many employees might be deflated from some weight gain over the festive season. The program should include lunch meals that contain several servings of vegetables or fruit – you want to minimise the consumption of products containing high levels of sugar and/or salt. A high sugar diet has been linked to weight gain and increased prevalence of Type II diabetes. Reduce the amount of processed grains and try to select lean meats with less fat and added salts. When choosing your meat options, be sure to stick with fresh meat over processed meats, since processed meat and foods are often full of chemicals that undermine the nutritional value.
Does it actually work?
For those that may still be a little sceptical, it is important to understand that there is a relationship between healthy eating and job satisfaction. Indeed, adhering to a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats has been linked to improved job performance. A lot of this stems from that fact that eating healthy promotes better body image, staves off illness and reduces the likelihood of fatigue. In fact, this could go a long way in boosting someone’s leadership skills, so if you’re a manager or in a leadership position at your work, be sure to try and eat as healthy as possible throughout the working week.
Likewise, eating healthy at work can also help you improve your overall time management. Being able to schedule your meetings and tasks in an efficient manner goes a long way in building your leadership portfolio. It also helps enhance your reputation within the company – you’ll find your workers have greater respect for you and your objectives for the business!