Remember the old adage, "You are what you eat"? It's an often repeated reminder that unhealthy food choices can sometimes lead to an unhealthy body.
Poor nutrition is often linked to numerous health problems, including:
In addition, over 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese which can increase an individual's risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By encouraging employees to adopt healthy and well-balanced diets, employers can help establish one of the most effective ways to minimize many of these health risks. In what other ways can good nutrition positively affect an employee's performance? It can increase productivity, mental cognition and focus, along with reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
In order to achieve a well-balanced diet, there are two key ingredients: controlling portion size and choosing the best foods. To help your employees make healthy, nutritious meal decisions, consider taking these steps:
- Provide healthy, nutritious cafeteria and vending machine options. Choices could include nuts, fresh and dried fruits, water or tea, leaner lunch meats, and fewer frozen or microwavable meals.
- Offer fresh fruit and whole grain breakfast options -- avoid sugary treats such as donuts or toaster pastries. According to the Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM), nearly one-third of employees skip breakfast. Without some food -- regardless of whether or not it's nutritious -- your employees will have reduced energy, productivity and focus.
- Order healthier options for lunch meetings and company events. Buffets provide your employees with the ability to decide what and how much to put on their plates.
- Schedule a nutritional lunch seminar where a dietitian or physician educates your employees on the importance of a well-balanced diet and the methods of maintaining healthy eating habits.