We spend a significant portion of our time at work. In fact, up to one-third of our weekday is spent at the office and, for most of us, that means 1 -2 meals (plus snacks) are taken during office hours. The value of promoting healthy eating in the workplace can serve an integral role in fostering employee health and wellness, as well as establish a supportive environment for practicing healthy eating behaviors in the office. Eating well can be hard! Convenience often outweighs the benefits of a healthy lunch or snack, and it can be so easy to let your healthy habits slip during a busy day at the office.
At WSOL, we took a good hard look at how we can help promote healthy eating and provide support to our employees to help them make healthy choices. Based on what we found, we realized we could easily revamp what we offer in our kitchen and snack area so that healthier choices would be readily available.
So LONG SODA
We tackled our cold drink fridge first as it was the easiest. We currently stock soda and seltzer drinks. We decided that we would eliminate the soda to get rid of the chemicals and unnecessary sugar. We added additional natural seltzer water choices to the mix so that the Coke Zero wouldn’t be missed too much. We also decided to incorporate a “tea bar” to our hot drink choices (we currently have a fancy coffee machine that makes all sorts of coffee drinks). We enlisted the help of our tea fanatics to help us pick some tea brands and flavors that would be enjoyed by all.
Healthy Snack Options
Next up was our snack area. Snacks were harder to evaluate and revamp as there are some well-loved snacks that we have stocked for a long time. We definitely did not want to create a snack panic-attack. We decided to continue to stock the healthier options – rice cakes, protein bars, popcorn, lentil chips and certain crackers. Additionally, we added a self-serve snack dispenser where almonds, trail mix, and yogurt-covered raisins are now available.
Better Lunch options
Finally, we looked at our Wednesday free WSOL lunches and how we can improve on what is being offered each week. In the past, we would utilize local restaurants and have employees choose what they wanted. We will continue to do that on occasion as our staff really enjoys this perk. However, we decided to employ the services of a local caterer to help streamline and improve on our lunches. This week, we will have mango chicken with sugar snap peas and coconut rice (with a vegetarian pasta option for those that don’t eat meat). Short of having a chef on staff, we have found that using a caterer has given us expanded, healthier options.
Incorporating these small, healthy changes within the office has been easier than expected and so far, the employee feedback has been positive! Ultimately, a healthy office environment not only helps to improve employees’ attitudes, productivity and loyalty, it can help our staff make healthy decisions in their own lives.