Sometimes there’s a fine line between what you should and shouldn’t encourage your employees to do. After all, you’re a part of their work life, so you shouldn’t go traipsing into their personal life too much. That doesn’t mean you can't care about their well-being in all aspects of life.
So, how do you address something like a healthy diet? Here are some ideas that can help you encourage healthy eating without being too pushy.
Offer Company Cooking Lessons
This is a great option because it’s something fun and different that you can offer as part of your wellness program. If you have the means, bring in a cooking instructor and teach your employees a few healthy recipes. That will give them the means to make at least one healthy meal and the excitement to learn more.
Participate in Community Supported Agriculture
Depending on where you live, CSA programs might be common or maybe a bit harder to come by. CSA programs involve partnering with a local farm and investing in their business. As they harvest food throughout the year, you’ll get a portion of it. Many CSA programs will also set up a convenient delivery service as well. This allows your employees to take fresh and healthy foods home with them every week. It’s a great option to kick start a good grocery shopping list!
Build a Worksite Garden
We may be biased, but we think this is one of the best ideas! In fact, we started our very own worksite garden and couldn’t be more excited about it. Worksite gardens can be built at any company, no matter how urban an area you’re in (we’re in an industrial park). You can build above ground garden beds, plant the food your employees want, take turns tending to the garden and split the fruits (and veggies) of your labor. Like the CSA program, this helps employees to start their week one step closer to a fresh and healthy grocery list.
Host a Healthy Potluck
Hopefully you’ve heard of a potluck. But, have you ever heard of a healthy potluck? It’s the same concept, but employees are encouraged to bring healthy foods like salads, chicken and fruit dishes for dessert. It’s a great way for employees to be creative about how they do healthy. It’s also an excellent opportunity to try new recipes and share your favorites with your coworkers.
Create a Company Cookbook
As is true with the healthy potluck, this is clearly a great way to share your favorite recipes. If you can get enough employees on board, have people submit recipes they love to the cookbook. Try to solicit as many healthy recipes as possible. Then have the book printed, branded with your company logo and distributed to all of your employees.
Cater Local Restaurant Food
Is there a local restaurant that’s a staple in your community? Ask them to cater a meal (or your next office party) for your employees, but pick from the foods on the lighter side of the menu. This can help your employees see that even when you go out to eat, there are healthy and delicious meals to try. You’ll also be supporting your local businesses, which is always a great idea!
Partner with a Nutrition Expert
As we’ve mentioned in a number of blog posts, partnering with other companies is always a great idea for your employee wellness program. Just like partnering with a local gym, you can also partner with a local nutritionist to offer your employees a discounted rate. This makes seeking nutritional help a feasible option, without making it an intimidating requirement.
Educate about Nutrition Labels
One of the biggest downfalls of our country’s nutrition is that very few people know how to read the label. While there is talk of updating food labels to make them a bit more clear, it’s still important to understand what’s in your food. Bring in an expert to speak with your employees about determining what food is truly good or bad based on the labels on the back of the box. Again, make this an option as part of your wellness program, not something mandated. That way you’ll get genuine interest in the event.
No matter what option you use to start the conversation about a healthy diet, it’s important to tread waters carefully. Diet can be a sensitive subject. It’s also somewhat fluid, and more “miracle diets” pop up every day. Just remember to communicate positively, offer initiatives instead of mandating them, and avoid being too pushy. Encouraging a healthy diet is an excellent way to promote employee wellness in your company.
How are you helping your employees eat healthily?
Image created by Katemangostar - Freepik.com
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for relevance, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.