Rushed mornings, no time for a lunch break, food-filled meetings, shift work and limited time to prepare meals – there’s no doubt that workday challenges can make it difficult to eat well.
However, the benefits make it worth the effort. Eating well at work can boost concentration, productivity, and vitality. It can also reduce missed days of work by helping to improve overall health.
Interior Health’s Registered Dietitians want to inspire all workers to eat better at work and make other positive changes that support a healthier workplace and nutrition environment.
“Studies show that eating healthy at work not only benefits workers – employers benefit too,” says Linda Boyd, Registered Dietitian with Interior Health’s Community Nutrition Program. “Healthier employees can mean cost reductions in a company’s employee health insurance plans, fewer disability days, and a reduction in health-related lost productivity.”
Employers can support healthy eating at work by providing a refrigerator, microwave, and comfortable eating area for staff to have their meals.
Offering healthy food and beverages at meetings and celebrating milestones with healthy choices like a fresh fruit bouquet help demonstrate an employer’s commitment to health.
Practical tips for planning healthy food at meetings and events can be found at Eat Smart – Meet Smart (http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/healthyeating/pdf/eat-smart-meet-smart.pdf ).
Many Canadian workers say eating healthy meals and snacks while at work can be challenging.
“One way of meeting this challenge is to ‘Make it. Take it.’ There are many time saving and healthy choices you can make at home and bring to work,” says Boyd. “Drive past the drive-thru, don’t stop at your usual pastry and coffee pit stop; instead, make breakfast ahead.”
Making and taking food to work can be quick and easy. Boyd suggests pre-portioning individual servings of fruit and yogurt, or trail mix to grab n’ go as you head out the door.
If you are looking for more ideas check out the Cookspiration app (http://www.cookspiration.com) for recipes to suit your mood and schedule; download eaTracker (http://eatracker.ca) to track your food and activity habits on the go; or dial 8-1-1 to speak to a Registered Dietitian at HealthLink BC.
Be sure to watch for Interior Health’s daily tweets during March for even more ideas.