You can make it easier for employees to choose healthy eating options while at work.
- Unhealthy eating is known to lead to chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- In Canada, an estimated $68 billion a year is spent on health care costs related to chronic diseases.
- 45% of surveyed Canadians said that eating healthy meals and snacks at work is challenging.
- In Peel, there are at least 5 less healthy food outlets (fast-food and take out restaurants) for every 1 healthy food outlet (grocery stores).
Create your plan
The following action plans can help you create a healthy eating plan for your organization.
Encourage managers to follow workplace policies and to act as good role models for health and wellbeing, including healthy eating.
- Adopt guidelines for food and beverages served at meetings and events.
- Consider setting a percentage of healthier items that must be available.
- Adopt nutrition standards for food and beverages sold on-site.
Ensure employees have a space available to eat meals and snacks that is away from their work area.
- Ensure that eating areas are set up with pest proof bins for recycling, organics, and waste.
- Design and maintain eating spaces that are clean, in good repair and foster healthy eating messages and images.
Set up outdoor eating areas under shade to encourage healthy eating at work.
- Offer on-site weekly sale of produce or establish a farmers' market in a location available to all regular occupants.
- Create an on-site vegetable and fruit garden that is available to all regular occupants and maintained weekly.
Offer supplies for employees to clean their dishes. For example, dish soap, and sponges.
- Provide employees with clean and well-maintained equipment that supports bringing food from home. For example, refrigerator, microwave, toaster, oven, and kettle.
- Install water refill stations or water fountains to encourage drinking water rather than sugary beverages.
Provide recommendations for healthier food when donating to community members or agencies.
- Support employees to limit food left out in common areas throughout the workplace. For example, candy dishes, home baking, etc.
- Encourage non-food items as incentives and rewards in place of food. For example, refillable water bottles, event tickets, etc.
- Offer education sessions where employees learn about choosing, preparing, or growing healthy food.
- Provide access to one-on-one counselling services from a Registered Dietitian to employees with a nutrition related health condition.
Engage with employees to understand their food preferences such as vegetarian types of foods.
- Offer taste-testing sessions for employees to try healthier items before they are sold.
- Regularly monitor and evaluate the effect of new activities, policies, organizational change or recommendations related to healthy eating through surveys and feedback.
- Fitwel workplace certification system can be used to score cafeteria and prepared food retail spaces as well as vending machines and snack bars based on their health-promoting characteristics.
- WELL Building Standard has a feature that can be used to assess the food environment.
- Dietitians of Canada provides facts and stats to help make the case for including dietitian services in your company's health insurance plan.