Most employees spend a large portion of their waking hours at the office, so this is one of the best places to impact their eating habits. Below are some ideas to promote healthy eating in the workplace.
1 . Nutrition cook-off – Teams of employees create a meal in advance and bring in prepared foods for an official competition. A nutritionist from the health department or local hospital or community serves as the judge. Dishes and foods are examined based on both health considerations and taste. Following the event, a cookbook of the teams’ recipes could be created and distributed to the entire staff.
2. Label reading contest – Designate a particular food or food category. Employees must find the designated products with the lowest/highest fat content in the grocery store. Provide coupons or other prizes for predetermined number of winners or participants. Or, provide samples of healthier food choices based on label information. Show how these compare to less healthful choices. Display results of the contest in the break room.
3. Sponsor a healthy food “bake-off” once a year
4. Provide sugar and salt substitutes in the lunchroom
5. At meetings, replace sweet rolls and donuts with bran muffins, wholewheat bagels, or fresh fruit. Consider offering other decaffeinated coffee and herbal teas plus no-sugar fruit juices.
6. If a nutrition cook-off is too much, you can still develop a cookbook featuring healthy recipes contributed by employees.
7. Fruit or veggie of the week (or month) – Display an “exotic” fruit or vegetable in your lunchroom and see when peers know what it is. Employees can put their name and the name of the item on an index card. Unusual food items like star fruit are now readily available in grocery stores work well for this activity as many people have not tried these kinds of produce.
8. Request that vending machines be stocked with a few healthy choices, such as sunflower seeds, raisins or trail mix, and label the healthy choices with stickers. Post nutritional information about vending machine options close to the vending machine for employees to consult before they choose a snack. Providing employees with the information they need to make informed dietary choices is important for encouraging healthier eating habits