Think about your most productive day at work. Chances are there were a lot of factors that went into making it such a great day, but your health and your state of mind were probably top among them.
When thinking about the things that affect work performance, food is often one of our last considerations. But food has a direct impact on our overall well-being, performance and productivity. For National Nutrition Month this March, take some time to support your team by raising awareness, improving nutrition and increasing healthy food options at work.
Whether it’s the chocolate stash in the break room or the desktop candy bowl, the workplace holds temptations at every turn. Your employees work hard, and they often don’t take the time they should to eat right.
What’s more: About 80% of consumers are confused by the sheer number of conflicting resources describing what they should and should not be eating. When they’re confused, their core purchase drivers are taste, price, familiarity and healthfulness.
When consumers are less confused and more aware of the facts, they make better choices. Here are some effective and engaging ways to educate your employees on healthy eating:
Ask your vending machine provider to switch out the sugary options for better choices like nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, popcorn or beef jerky. More and more vending machine companies are providing healthier choices, and newer machines even offer cooling systems to support fresh, perishable foods like baby carrots and celery or string cheese. One study found that simply the presentation of healthy options can influence people’s decision-making and encourage them to choose wisely.
Do your employees say they’re desperately in need of a quick sugar boost? Fruits like bananas and apples do a great job of providing it, but with the added benefit of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and fiber. While some fruits have high sugar content, they have fewer calories and fat and less available sugar than a chocolate bar. The fiber in fresh fruit also slows down sugar absorption and helps employees avoid those energy peaks and valleys associated with processed, high-sugar foods. Eating an apple, orange or other fibrous fruit can also help keep teeth clean and increases salivation, which can neutralize citric and malic acids left behind in the mouth.
So instead of a candy jar on the reception desk, how about a colorful basket of apples, tangerines, bananas and pears? A tiered wire or mesh fruit basket allows you to offer fruit without overcrowding, and it doesn’t take up any more countertop real estate than a traditional bowl. The wire mesh lets air circulate, slowing down the deterioration process.
Even office traditions like birthdays and holidays can change to include healthier, tooth-friendly options. For your next office celebration, include some sugar-free chocolate cupcakes (an added bonus: these are also gluten free), and serve them up with a side of strawberry-banana ice cream. For a refreshing drink, mix up a pitcher of iced tea or water with cucumber or fruit slices.
If your employees are working from home, you can still encourage them to take care of their oral health by snacking wisely during the workday. Here are some of the ways Delta Dental resources can help you remind employees about the importance of eating healthy:
Whether through wholesome choices in the workplace, sugar-free celebrations or reminders for remote workers, you can keep your employees healthy and happy by guiding them toward nutritious alternatives for their workday snacking.