A healthy, nutritious diet rich in vitamins boosts mental and physical energy. It can even make your employees happy all day long! Junk food, which stares at them from every street corner, inviting them in for an easy, quick meal, does the opposite. As an employer, you can lift this curse and find solutions to keep your employees healthy and happy.
Improving Employees’ Eating Habits: A Priority for Employers
You don’t have to look very far to figure out how to make your employees happy and improve their health. Healthy nutrition based on fresh produce is your greatest ally. Research conducted at the University of Konstanz in Germany shows that eating fruit and vegetables fosters well-being and happiness on the long term, while sweets provide only a fleeting pleasure. Several other scientific studies show that a varied diet rich in fibre, protein and antioxidants increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, hormones that improve mood and boost energy. Your employees will be more motivated, concentrate better and learn more quickly.
We know that chips, cookies and candy are bad for physical health. But studies now show that junk food isn’t good for emotional or mental health either. It makes your employees less effective and efficient, which can even decrease your company’s productivity by up to 20%. Poor nutrition affects employees’ emotional stability, depletes their energy and leads to fatigue. An unbalanced diet can even cause depression, leading to a loss of motivation, stress and irritability. These side effects, often overlooked, increase the risk of absenteeism and can negatively affect the work environment.
What Should You Do?
You need to create a strategy through which you contribute to your employees’ well-being and provide them with the foundations for a healthy diet.
1) If You have a Company Cafeteria, rethink the Menu
You will find the crux of the issue in the kitchens at your company cafeteria. Offer more vegetarian dishes so that your employees eat more fruit and vegetables. Provide a variety of options to introduce them to balanced nutrition that keeps them engaged. Finally, replace sodas with vitamin-rich drinks such as fresh fruit juice.
2) Adapt Your Company’s Facilities
If your vending machines only provide a choice between candy, cookies and chocolate bars, you are encouraging your employees to eat too much sugar. Offer nuts, cereal bars, mineral water and tea bags as refreshments instead, and do the same for meetings and internal events. This way, you help them avoid sugar and caffeine while providing omega-3s, magnesium and antioxidants, which are excellent for stimulating memory and combating fatigue.
You can also provide a fruit bar where they can make their own juices rich in vitamins. And don’t forget to install a refrigerator in the break room so that employees can bring meals from home and store them until lunch.
3) Offer Advice on Nutrition
There’s nothing better than cooking workshops or nutrition classes to educate your employees on a balanced diet. They can learn to cook quick and healthy meals, choose their food based on their dietary intake and plan balanced meals for the whole family.
4) Use Benefits to Encourage Healthy Eating
Use your benefits package to encourage healthy eating. Benefits can be an efficient way to motivate employees to try different diets. If you offer discounts at organic stores, on fresh produce from your region or the services of a naturopath or nutritionist, you give your employees access to specialists, as well as to a rich and varied diet.