You might think it’s none of your business what your workforce is eating on business hours. As long as they get their work done, there’s nothing you can do, right?

Wrong!

A healthy diet can help your workforce fire on all cylinders. It can help them work both harder and smarter. That’s because healthy diets have been associated with:

  • Improved focus
  • Increased and sustained energy
  • Increased productivity, and even
  • Better moods and teamwork

All of these things spell success for your business! So, to an extent, what your employees eat is absolutely your business.

That being said, there is a fine line you’re walking. You obviously can’t monitor, dictate or judge based on your employees’ diets (and if that’s not obvious, we need to have a chat about a positive work environment!).

Here’s what you can do, all the while maintaining an empowering, positive workspace for your employees.

1. Provide

If it’s in the budget, by all means offer healthy snacks for your employees. It will be one of the best investments you make in their health and wellness!

Providing free or reduced-cost fruits and vegetables at work is one way to encourage healthy snacking throughout the days. Employees will be drawn to the more affordable healthy options, rather than paying out of their own pocket for something not-so-healthy.

If that’s the route you choose to take, you might want to ask some questions before you get started. Consider things like what a majority of your employees like to eat, when they like to snack and where the snacks can be stored. Otherwise, you might run into waste issues down the road.

2. Educate

Sometimes the simplest way to encourage someone to eat nutritiously is to tell him or her exactly what that means. Anyone can do a Google search and stumble across information that’s not necessarily credible—especially when it comes to health trends.

With the ever-changing health landscape, as well as the flood of diet myths and quick tricks available, it’s important to know what is actually based in science. That’s why it can be very helpful to bring a professional in to chat with your workforce.

Here at Activate Buffalo County, we’ve actually got a great partnership with the Kearney Hy-Vee’s registered dietitian, Kaiti George. She’s more than willing to come talk to your workforce, and let them know what a healthy diet actually looks like—and how that goal is possible to attain!

3. Evaluate

While you probably shouldn’t evaluate what your individual employees are eating, you can look with a strategic eye at the environment you’re providing. Your employees spend a majority of their time at work—are you helping or hurting their nutrition habits?

Look at your vending machines and snack shops. What’s being offered? If there aren’t any appetizing, healthy snack or meal options, you’re not doing your workforce any good.

There’s an excellent tool you can use to evaluate your vending machines. It’s called the Nutrition Environment Measures Vending Survey (NEMS-V), and the Two Rivers Department of Public Health can help you carry it out. You’ll receive a health score, and you can take that information back to your provider to request some healthier options be placed in your machines.

Ultimately, helping your employees to eat right is about providing them with the tools they need to make nutritious choices. If you can make the healthy choice the most affordable choice, by all means do! Otherwise, ensure you and your workforce know what healthy eating really means and try to shape your work environment around that ideal.

We’ve identified a variety of partners in the Buffalo County community that want to help our local workforce understand and work toward that ideal. The educational and evaluation services we mentioned are offered at discounted or free rates for Activate Buffalo County members. So if you have any questions about getting involved and/or getting those perks set up, just let us know!