With the nights drawing in it can seem like people tend to take more sick days than they do in summer, healthy eating habits become even more important. As well as helping us maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol level, when we eat and drink well it can improve our concentration, energy, mood and even our self-esteem. All these benefits can be good news for your business. So we’ve come up with a few ideas to zhush up your kitchen and help everyone at work eat healthier this winter.
People are often tempted by what’s available, so make it easy for them to make healthier snack choices. Stock up on low-fat, whole-grain and healthy products in the communal pantry. If you have vending machines, ensure they’re well stocked with healthy options too. Better still, provide a fruit bowl or regular fruit box delivery that staff can dip into when they prefer. You might also consider offering fruit instead of biscuits at meetings – or even remove the biscuit jar altogether. Every little step helps.
Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day, so why not set up a simple breakfast bar for employees to start those winter mornings. You can also provide other social spaces for eating, like a lunchroom, to help them take regular breaks, refuel and refocus. Clean and tidy areas for staff to store their food are a must too. And of course easy access to fresh drinking water means everyone can stay hydrated throughout the day.
Staff love to know what’s going on, so make sure you keep everyone involved in your winter work health drive. Regular communication through posters and leaflets can promote healthy food choices to help people make more informed decisions at lunchtime. You could also provide info and fact sheets on how to put together a healthy lunchbox, or highlight local cafes that offer healthy options. In short, keep employees in the loop, and offer them ways to join in and make suggestions.
If you have the space, choose a patch of ground or install a few raised beds for growing fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs. It could help to spark people’s interest in eating more healthily, and gardening is a great form of exercise – relaxing too, especially at lunchtimes. Plus everyone at work can enjoy the spoils. Just make sure you have enough volunteers to plan and organise those gardening responsibilities.
To take things a step further, get in touch with a local dietician or nutritionist to see if they can come in and give a talk on healthy eating in the colder months. Keep it understated though, so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable. If there’s enough uptake, you could also run on-site group health sessions to help people assess what’s a healthy weight for them, and track their progress. Camaraderie can be a great motivator for change.
Giving people options is a great way to encourage them to start eating more healthily at work this winter. There are plenty of employees out there with the desire to make positive changes in their lifestyle (and plenty who reckon they could do with shedding a few kilos too!). Implementing some of the above steps may leave you amazed at what everyone can achieve, come rain or shine.
Keeping healthy habits during winter doesn’t have to be a challenge, and starts with making just a few smart changes that stick. Help your team take these habits home with some healthy winter recipes straight from Olympic athlete, Lisa Carrington.