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Healthy Eating at the Workplace

March is considered the National Nutrition Month

It creates awareness about mindful eating and a balanced diet. An initiative started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the annual campaign is all about wholesome eating, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle habits.

Why Promoting National Nutrition Month at Workplace is Important?

Our hustling jobs leave us with little time to cook healthier homemade food. More often than not, working people, especially the younger generations, have their food on the go. From using processed or canned food to picking up junk food on their way to work, many employees have resorted to unhealthy eating. Adding to it is skipping water and substituting it with soft drinks or alcohol.

National Nutrition Month is an excellent opportunity to create awareness about healthy eating and its benefits at the workplace.

Unhealthy habits, including improper eating, lack of exercise, and harmful addictions, can impact employee wellbeing. Employee wellbeing impacts productivity, engagement, healthcare costs, absenteeism, and overall business growth. And so, employers must take adequate measures to foster a healthy workplace culture that celebrates positive practices.

Here are some simple, actionable, and fun wellness challenge ideas to be incorporated into your employee wellness programs for National Nutrition Month.

National Nutrition Month Ideas for Your Wellbeing Programs

1. Offer Nutrition and Healthy Eating Resources

Education is the key to bringing change. There are tons of different ways to do create awareness. Hand out printed resources from reputable references like Nutrition.gov. Send regular newsletters with nutritional facts and insights on food safety. Organize webinars or seminars with nutritionists who can guide the workforce about healthy eating and its benefits. Incentivize participation to boost engagement.

2. Stay Hydrated Wellness Challenges

Drinking enough water daily is essential for almost every aspect of health. It is vital for the optimal functioning of all body organs. However, it becomes difficult to drink the recommended water quantities. Start a ‘Stay Hydrated’ challenge to promote the drinking of adequate amounts of water every day. Swap the soft drinks at the workplace with only water. Make sure refilling stations are close by to the work desks. Liven up the plain water by adding fruit or juice cubes to the water pitchers at hand.

3. 30-Day Fresh Produce Challenges

Fresh seasonal produce offers a different level of health benefits and flavor. Set actionable goals for this challenge. Start with emphasizing the need to consume at least 2 – 3 servings of fresh seasonal vegetables and 1 fruit for 3 days a week and gradually progress to 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily over the 30-day challenge. At the end of the month, those who followed the rules diligently earn points and incentives.

4. Meatless Monday and Wellness Wednesday

Start a Meatless Monday and Wellness Wednesday challenge for an entire month. The challenge calls for avoiding meat on Mondays and all kinds of processed, junk, and fatty foods on Wednesdays. This challenge forces employees to choose healthier and fresh produce, which can be delicious and nutritious. Maybe they will fall in love with veggies over meat. Have them log their data and take pictures. The winners take home healthy goodies.

5. Build a Home Garden

Gardening is a known stress-reliever, a great way to encourage physical activity, and improves environmental sustainability. What’s more! You get to grow your own fresh produce and not have to buy frozen or pesticide-smothered ones. Growing your own home garden is addictive. It may sound tedious at first, but the growing saplings will make it all worth it. Through the challenge, employees can start growing small plants that can be placed in their kitchen or window. Start with herbs, micro-herbs, and spices. If the home space allows, they can start growing bigger plants and trees. They can also come together as teams and use available spaces to grow their bigger plants and trees. Whoever grows and uses home garden produce earns rewards.

6. Theme-based Eating Week

Organize theme-based eating challenges where one vegetable and one fruit becomes the ‘Star of the Week.’ Introduce your workforce to a new or uncommonly used vegetable and fruit every week. They must cook their meals or snacks using them daily for the entire week. To help them with it, share recipe cards, put up a recipe sharing board, or add cookbooks to the office library. The employees who make healthy meals using the star veggie and fruit over the entire challenge win rewards.

7. Organize Voluntary Food Drives

Volunteering boosts mental health, relieves stress, and improves morale. With food donation drives, employees can help caregiving homes, boarding schools, churches, and community centers by restocking their pantries. They can hand over nutrition facts about vegetables, fruits, and other foods to create awareness. While such events can improve employee morale and increase their knowledge about food, it is also a great opportunity for the teams to bond well. The participants can earn points or rewards.

8. Explore Different Food Cultures

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has declared the theme for March 2022 as “Celebrate a World of Flavors.” Diversity and Inclusion play a huge role in building a healthy workplace culture. Express the company’s DEI policies by exploring different world cultures through food. Draw attention to the different cultural customs of your workforce and highlight their food-related habits. Set a day for each culture team and have them bring over special dishes from their heritage. Such inclusive events will not only educate individuals about new food types but will also make them feel valued.

9. Offer Free Nutrition Courses

Most employees look for learning opportunities. However, they do not have the resources or do not know where to start from. The wellness committee can compile a list of credible online resources like Stanford’s Introduction to Food and Nutrition that will help them in learning unique facts about the food they eat. When they learn to distinguish the right food from wrong and understand the correct way of having a balanced diet, it will support them through their health and wellbeing goals.

10. Educate about Obesity

According to studies, almost one in three adults face obesity-related health issues, which can lead to other health complications. This is why it is crucial to educate employees about obesity, the causes, and preventive measures. Organizing expert talks, offering insights from credible resources like the CDC website, and holding regular physical activity challenges can help in reducing the risks of obesity.

Food and physical activity play a huge role in maintaining good health and wellbeing. So, in addition to holding food-based wellness challenge ideas, it is vital to include physical activity challenges to ensure holistic employee wellbeing.

Post Author: Admin