If your workplace is full of employees that are constantly on the go, ensuring that they stay healthy with their meals at lunch hour can be difficult at best. Forcing them to have company sponsored meals that aren’t their favorites won’t do the trick either to boost nutritional health.

8 Unique Ways to Boost Nutritional Health of Your Employees

Supporting their ability to eat healthier, thus perform better, and enjoy life more, is vital for your organization alongside their own well-being. But how can you make it more desirable and interesting for them?

Boost Nutritional Health In Ways Employees Prefer

After working with many great companies over the decades to boost nutritional health of their employees, our guides here at WellSteps compiled a list of their favorite feedback received from the employees that were impacted the most.

Supporting their ability to eat healthier, thus perform better, and enjoy life more, is vital for your organization alongside their own well-being.

So instead of encouraging your teams to follow a strict diet plan that has them hating meal time, try one of these simple ways to help increase their nutritional health and make progress even in small amounts.

RELATED: 8 Workplace Health Promotion Program Examples That Work

Set a Time to Stop Eating

Research suggests that not eating after a predetermined specific time in the evening has health benefits including

  • weight loss
  • better sleep
  • decrease in acid reflux
  • better food and drink choices

However, there does not appear to be a set time that all studies agree upon. Depending on your dietary needs and personal lifestyle circumstances, the best time to quit eating in the evening is better determined by individuals themselves.

Set a Stop Time to Eating to Boost Nutritional Health of Your Employees

One employee who said, “I set a stop eating time and stuck to it most nights” saw an improvement in their nutritional health. Share this with your employees to give it a try and see what times or routines they put into place benefit them to boost nutritional health.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast Most Days

We’ve all had the morning where we’ve slept in and are running late for that emergency meeting, so grabbing a quick donut or going without breakfast at all seems to be the only option. Preparing a healthy meal in the morning can be time consuming, and we get that life happens.

But when we help our employees be intentional about their first morning meal instead of relying on just coffee alone, it sets them up for a much better day by:

  • having more energy and clarity for work responsibilities
  • greater alertness and focus with communication and details
  • better mood and desire for work productivity

When one employee stated, “I ate a healthy breakfast most days this month,” it was their determining factor for better nutritional health. So provide resources, ideas, recipes, and routines that will support the same for your employees.

If you’re able to, have company sponsored breakfasts or morning snacks for meetings that will nourish everyone’s nutritional health instead of provide a quick sugar fix. You’ll find your people still going strong at the end of the day and feeling better mentally.

RELATED: 10 Tips to Implement Mindfulness in the Workplace

Try a New Vegetable Each Month

The albeit area where most of us can agree to do better nutritionally is with eating more vegetables. Interestingly enough, there are more vegetables that most people aren’t aware of that actually taste great and provide so much more health benefits than supplements or even fruit.

The typical salad or side of carrots can get old for a mid-day meal. But, teaching your employees about vegetables readily available that they maybe haven’t tried before will increase their palate, and open their eyes to better nutritional options to boost nutritional health.

So when one employee told us, “I tried a new vegetable each month,” it was an attainable goal for them that provide great benefits in the long run. Consider these lesser used vegetables in recipes with ideas you can give your employees.

  • brussels sprouts
  • watercress
  • artichokes
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli rabe
  • cucumber
Try New Vegetables to Boost Nutritional Health of Your Employees

Chicken or Fish Instead of Pork or Beef at Least Three Times a Month

Although we love our burgers, science shows that red meats increase risk of cancer and other diseases. Replacing beef or pork with chicken or fish greatly reduces those risks and meats can still be enjoyed. Not everyone is going to eat vegan, nor should certain dietary regimens be suggested for all your employees.

But having leaner meat options and ideas for those that do eat meat will still meet them half way on wanting to still enjoy quality meats and increase their nutritional health at the same time. Most of the time meats can be easily substituted in recipes and it’s not a difficult change for most folks.

So when we got feedback from one employee that said, “I ate fish or chicken instead of beef or pork at least three times this month,” we were glad to know they’ve already decreased their risk for future diseases without a difficult change.

RELATED: 13 Fun Workplace Wellness Challenge Ideas Your Employees Will Enjoy

Lunch Brought From Home Once A Week Instead of Eating Out

Most often, meals made at home are from scratch, less processed, and with much simpler and healthier ingredients. Restaurant meals, fast food, and pre-made meal options come with processed ingredients stripped of nutritional value, and contain preservatives that are harmful to one’s health.

Although going out to eat during work or bringing in a pizza for the team may seem easiest for schedules and sanity, it is not the best for anyone’s nutritional health. So create a space that encourages your employees to bring their meals from home. You can try:

  • have Lunch-and-Learn events during lunch hour where folks can bring their food
  • schedule potlucks where teams can bring assigned dishes to share
  • put on contests that have co-workers all making the same home-made item to see which is the team’s favorite

When we read feedback from an employee saying, “I ate lunch that I brought from home instead of going out to eat at least once per week this month,” we were glad to know no only their nutritional health was increasing, but they were creating a habit to further support their future as well.

Although going out to eat during work or bringing in a pizza for the team may seem easiest for schedules and sanity, it is not the best for anyone’s nutritional health.

Replace Unhealthy Snacks With Fresh Fruit

Many prepackaged snack products, although may contain great nutrients, most lack one thing where fresh fruit takes the cake: fiber. Someone can be eating organic and all natural snacks in ready made packages, but are most likely still not getting the fiber they need to support their nutritional health. The benefits of fiber from fresh fruit include:

  • increased digestive health for immune support
  • decreased inflammation in the gut and entire body
  • decreased risk for cancer and autoimmune conditions
  • decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes

You can have fruit bowls set out for your employees in the lunch room instead of a vending machine. Or have team members take turns bringing a fruit salad each week to share. When we read that an employee said, “I ate a piece of fresh fruit instead of an unhealthy snack in the office at least once a week this month,” we were glad to know their nutritional health was improving with this simple change.

Fruit as Snacks to Boost Nutritional Health of Your Employees

Eat Meals Away From A Screen Most of the Time

Eating a meal while working on the computer or watching TV is associated with less healthy meal options and negative health results. The desire to continue working through lunch encourages employees to grab something quick and easy so they can get back to their current project. Or chilling in front of the TV at the end of the day creates an environment less likely for someone to take the time to cook a healthier meal.

Although you can’t control where your employees eat their meals, you can encourage them to get away from their desks entirely during lunch breaks. Here are some ideas that may help:

  • have an outdoor eating area with shade and even a few outdoor games like horseshoes
  • put together Lunch-and-Learn events that don’t require a screen or power-point presentation
  • have group potlucks or team lunches where you go over rewards and fun aspects about work

When we heard an employee say, “I did not eat more than three meals this month in front of the TV or computer,” we’re glad to know that the healthy habit also went home with them.

Fill Plates Half Full With Produce More Often

Every single healthy diet is full of fruits and vegetables. Produce is the primary source of all our nutritional needs and is the solution to preventing many unwanted health conditions. Unfortunately, most people aren’t eating enough plant based foods.

Produce is the primary source of all our nutritional needs and is the solution to preventing many unwanted health conditions.

The USDA My Plate guidelines outline filling half our meals with fruits and vegetables. But it seems that most people don’t do so because they simply don’t enjoy eating them, they’re not very tasty, or they’re too expensive. This is where vegan or vegetarian options may come to assist and boost nutritional health.

  • put on cooking classes to teach more ways to prepare tasty vegetable dishes
  • have a recipe contest where everyone can enjoy tasting new options
  • provide lists of pricing for inexpensive fruits and vegetables to assist while grocery shopping

After we received feedback from an employee that stated, “Half my plate is filled with fruits and vegetables at least three meals per week,” we knew that their nutritional health would skyrocket in a great direction.

RELATED: 9 Workplace Well-Being Activities to Skyrocket Employee Productivity

Support Your Employees to Boost Nutritional Health and More

The majority of health comes from what we eat, and when your employees aren’t getting great nutritional options most of the time, it affects their ability to support your organization. Of course you can’t force feed them healthier food, but you can support your employees in ways to boost nutritional health with all of the unique options we’ve talked about today.

Then, you’re off to a fantastic start in providing a wellness program for your employees that will in turn add to your bottom line of productivity and results. But nutrition is just a small part of the health and well being of your team. When you combine nutritional health with exercise, mental health, and social aspects of wellness, then you have a well rounded program that doesn’t fall short of supporting your employees.

WellSteps offers many customizable options that will support your organization best. Contact us for a free demo and discover what a health and wellness program can do for your company and employees.

About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.

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