March is Nutrition Month in Canada, which is a great reminder to employers to take a look at promoting healthy eating in the workplace. Food has a direct impact on performance and productivity, and healthy foods will provide energy and happiness to employees – which in turns makes them more engaged, creative, and effective during the day. There are many different ways to engage and empower your workforce to explore healthy eating in their daily routines:
- Start by offering opportunities for employees to educate themselves on healthy eating practices. Catered lunch-and-learn sessions, inviting a nutritionist onsite for a workshop, or even posting nutrition information and resources in a high-traffic area are all great examples that are effective and engaging for your staff.
- Provide heathier food options in your cafeteria, break rooms, and/or vending machines. If you are catering any in-office meetings or events, look for items that are higher in nutrients and lower in added fats, sugars, and salts.
- Review your lunch break polices at the corporate level. Many managers are aware that eating lunch at your desk often has a negative effect on health and productivity, and can lead to overeating or constant consuming of unhealthy but convenient snack options. Encourage your team members to eat their lunches away from the desks so they can practice more mindfulness, enjoy what they are eating, and have a moment to relax and recharge before tackling the rest of the day.
- Start a healthy eating challenge or contest for the month. Many people are motivated by competition, and having a “healthy living” prize at the end (think of company branded water bottles, sports towels, etc.) will help enforce the concept of wellness in the long run. Also, these challenges can be repeated month after month to continuously encourage your team to practice these new heathy habits throughout the year.
Building healthy eating into your organization’s day-to-day wellness plan can serve as an integral role in fostering employee health and wellness, as well as establish a supportive environment for practicing other healthy behaviors in the office. Your Employee and Family Assistance Program through PEO Canada provides many resources on healthy living, including various nutritional support services. For more information on these resources, please reach out to your Benefits Contact for support.