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5 Tips for Healthy Eating to Energize Employees

June 30, 2015 / Employee Engagement

The saying, “You are what you eat” goes a long way. For many employees, a busy schedule makes it easy to choose convenient meals because it means getting back to work faster. But convenient doesn’t mean it’s better.

An on-the-go meal may get your employees back to their workspace sooner, but poor nutrition can take an unhealthy toll on their health and productivity. Eating too much sugar, carbs, or fat can cause cognitive impairment. Motivate employees to make a few slight changes to their diet and you’ll help them maintain their focus, raise their energy levels, and improve their overall well-being throughout the day.

Instead of Potato Chips, Try Kale Chips

cabbage-413719_1280Who doesn’t crave a salty and crunchy snack once in a while? Usually potato chips are the answer, but make them a bit harder to reach for in the office. Not only do they contain mass amounts of sodium, leading to high blood pressure, but they’re hard to put down – meaning mindless eating and empty calories.

A healthy alternative is kale chips. Kale provides at least 10 different vitamins and minerals, which will help keep energy levels high. And, like potato chips, they have a crunch to them – except employees can eat as many as they want and not feel bad about it.

Instead of Red Meat, Try Fish

Studies show that eating red meat regularly may lead to a shorter lifespan. Due to its high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Substituting meat with other protein-filled foods can help prevent these diseases.

Encourage employees to occasionally switch to fish for a healthy lunch option. Fish is known for providing omega-3, which is essential for good health. Since the body doesn’t make omega-3, it’s important employees add it to their diet. It helps maintain a healthy heart and aids in cognitive health, allowing employees to stay healthy and focused during the workday.

Instead of Mayo, Try Avocado

avocados-318198_1280Mayonnaise is ideal for enhancing sandwiches, but too much of it can be dangerous. It’s filled with unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients, leading to negative long-term effects. Even low-fat mayonnaise isn’t healthier, because it’s filled with more added sugar.

Using avocado as a substitute is a healthier option. It provides a great amount of fiber, which helps employees feel full longer. Encourage them to put it on sandwiches instead of mayo for a more satisfying and nutritious lunch. Keep avocados and other fresh fruit around the office to help further motivate employees to make healthier choices.

Instead of Cheese and Crackers, Try Carrots and Hummus

Although cheese and crackers contain protein and fiber, they’re also packed with sodium and fats. They’re a good snack in moderation, but there are healthier options.

Carrots and hummus are a great alternative to cheese and crackers. Like avocados, hummus contains a lot of fiber and healthy fats, so it’ll help employees stay satisfied for hours. Encourage them to add this healthier snack to their lunches to keep their energy levels high.

Instead of Refined Grains, Try Whole Grains

bread-6110_1280The majority of grain-based products are made with refined flour and rice, meaning a lot of the nutrients and fiber are removed. Because there’s less fiber, refined grains aren’t as filling, making it easier to overeat.

Educate employees on the health benefits of eating whole grain foods instead. They’re a better source of fiber and have been proven to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Remind your employees to look for the term “whole” on the box next time they buy grain-based products. This way they’ll get the heart-healthy nutrients that whole grains provide.

Convenience meals full of greasy, processed foods make people feel sluggish and tired, which isn’t productive at work. Encouraging employees to nourish their body with healthy foods will increase energy levels, improve mood, and help them be more productive. Help your workforce make these minor yet beneficial changes to their eating habits and you’ll positively impact their performance, health, and overall quality of life.

Looking for more tips on how you can energize employees? Check out our nutrition ebook and learn other ways to support healthy eating habits in the workplace.

Kelly O’Donnell is a marketing intern at Virgin Pulse, where she hopes to broaden her knowledge in the area of holistic well-being and strengthen her marketing and writing skills. In her free time, you can find her exploring trails with her dog or relaxing on the beach with a good book and friends.

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