Healthy employees tend to be less stressed, more productive, and take fewer sick days. A key factor in employee health is nutrition which is why you want your employees to eat well. When employees eat healthier, they are fueling their brains and bodies.
How to Get Started
The first thing you will need to do as an employer is to decipher your organization’s current understanding of health and eating practices.
Create an Assessment
You can start with an assessment of the variety and types of foods and beverages your employees consume. These ‘food diaries’ can help you to understand the foundation of their diets which will help to illuminate where reasonable improvements can be made.
Some of your employees may lack information and education on how to eat in a way that supports their health; others may know how but lack the desire or support they need to follow through on that knowledge.
What people eat is ultimately their decision. Employers are in a unique position however to provide healthy options while their employees are at work and to provide resources for employees looking to expand their knowledge as it relates to diet. In order to make an educated decision, employees must understand the impact to themselves. Thus, education is a key element of any workplace wellness program.
How to Help Your Employees Be Healthier
Including educational tips on health and nutrition through informative newsletters is a great way to educate and remind employees to focus on their health. It also helps them to know that their employers are prioritizing the well-being of their employees.
When providing recommendations and tips remember this: rather than building the message around what not to eat, consider forming the basis of your recommendation around healthy options and the benefits they have. Recommendations should always be additive to their diets, not restrictive.
What is a Healthy Diet?
One type of diet that is rising in popularity right now is the flexitarian diet. It’s a flexible, plant-based diet but is based on the following principles:
- Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains
- Focus on protein from plants instead of animals
- Be flexible and incorporate meat and animal products from time to time
- Eat the least processed, most natural form of foods
- Limit added sugar and sweets
Due to its flexible nature and focus on what to include rather than restrict, the Flexitarian diet is a popular choice for people looking to eat healthily and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Suggesting this type of eating style and including tips on the specific foods to eat and recipes to start with can help guide your employees in making healthy choices.
What is Portion Control?
Choosing the right food isn’t everything. While portion control can be an off-putting term, it’s the key to enjoying a non-restrictive diet. There are no bad foods and everything can be quite literally – on the table – as long as people portion correctly.
Many have either an exaggerated or limited idea of what it means to choose a healthy amount of food. Teaching portion control that uses everyday items as examples of portion size equips people with the tools they need to indulge or limit themselves when choosing certain foods.
As an example, a serving size of any animal protein is 3 oz which is no bigger than a deck of cards.
Portion control helps individuals get the benefits of the food: flavor, taste, and nutrients while limiting excessive calorie intake.
How Do Employees Benefit?
Losing weight is not always the goal. Ideally, your employees should be able to gain or maintain a healthy weight when being attentive to their diet but there are other major benefits as well.
A majority plant-based diet can lead to increased heart health, reduced blood pressure and is proven to lower the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. The benefits of portion control include:
- Reduction in binging or stress eating
- Improvement in digestive functions
- Glucose/fat level balances
- Increase in satiety level
- Money savings
How Does Healthy Eating Translate Into Work Performance
Having healthy employees may seem to impact the individuals themselves, but it actually has a huge impact on your business’s success.
Employees who eat nutritious foods benefit from improved cognitive functions which include better focus, concentration, memory, and creativity. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a lack of essential nutrients can cause fatigue and reduced immunity resulting in more illness.
The foods employees eat will also have a direct effect on their moods and attitudes. Healthy balanced diets are associated with fewer incidences of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Encouraging a healthy diet will lead to more productive, energetic, and positive employees.
Less Cost to Businesses
According to the CDC, workplace health programs can impact insurance costs. Employees with preventable health issues increase health care costs. Encouraging healthy habits keeps employees in the low-risk category while also supporting all employees to adopt good health practices.
How Cornerstone Can Help
Cornerstone Insurance can help you help your employees implement healthy habits and choices to improve productivity and save on insurance costs. Cornerstone Insurance can help you launch a wellness program that caters to your employees for the benefit of your business.
Contact Cornerstone Insurance today for assistance in creating happier, healthier and more productive teams.
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