Poor eating habits during the day can be a significant part of the problem for people struggling with their weight. The workplace is an ideal place to spread the message for healthy eating strategies - as well as providing a communal environment to encourage people to shed the pounds, says nutritionist Reena Sharma.
Here are 10 ways to help spread the healthy eating message in the workplace.
1. Education campaigns
Making sure your staff are aware of healthy eating campaigns in the first place is a good start. Posters around the workplace reminding people of initiatives such as "Five a Day" and Change4Life will ensure information is easily seen. Companies should consider participating in national campaigns and awareness weeks to focus attention on specific issues. Making sure information is circulated around staff, via email or leaflets, on a regular basis, is a good way to spread the word.
2. Make it easy
If it is too difficult to make a healthy choice, people will often lack the time or motivation to go out of their way to find an alternative. There are many simple things a conscientious employer can do to encourage healthier eating in the workplace. Ensure any kitchen or dining areas provide the right equipment and crockery for people to be able to store and prep their own breakfasts, like cereal and skimmed milk, instead of resorting to running out for a fried bacon sandwich over the road.
3. Provide incentives
Many workplaces provide free fruit once a week or on a regular basis, and/or access to free mineral water. Vending machines are a constant source of temptation when hunger strikes. Make sure a selection of healthier options, including fruit, cereal bars or lower-calorie alternatives, are available alongside the normal chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks for a quick snack. Cutting these things out altogether - at least without consultation first - is unlikely to be a popular choice. But providing alternatives (for free, where possible) can make people think twice.
4. Go for awards
Take the lead, and sign the whole company up to a recognised, certified scheme. In Scotland, workplaces with canteens and staff restaurants can try for the national "healthyliving" award. In Merseyside, [email protected] runs an initiative called the Workplace Wellbeing Charter, which operates as a he