It is a known fact that what finds its way to the gut has a fundamental role in determining physical health. Food for the body is also food for the soul; what one eats must give you comfort, make you feel active and promote better functionality as employees and individuals. The two pillars of good physical health are the food we consume and the exercises we choose to pursue.
Eating patterns and habits vary from person to person. With our lifestyles pretty much forcing us to hurry through most of our daily activities, we always look for the quickest option available when it comes to our food intake. In the process, we may not pay attention to whether the food we consume has nutritional value. Some people choose to skip their meals, as their careers require them to be at its beck and call. Some others look for light and ‘time-efficient’ food, which fill the stomach but barely provide nourishment or energy to run the day and maintain overall health.
Unhealthy eating habits could impact health and work productivity in the following ways:
Overeating food rich in sugars, excess carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, teamed with lack of exercise is a common causal factor for obesity. Obesity in turn increases the risk of diabetes and cardiac diseases. The individual’s sleep pattern is altered, resulting in sleep apnea or insomnia, further causing fatigue in the daytime.
Work-life balance in not just about how much time one is able to spend effectively in their professional and personal lives, but the quality associated to their efforts in maintaining this equilibrium. Eating the right kind and right amounts of food at regular intervals is one step closer towards this balance.
One of the most common results of skipping meals is fatigue. Even a simple task might feel like a tug of war, when one is feeling too weak. With drooping energy levels, one can find it hard to focus on the task at hand. Experiencing fatigue during working hours hinders their performance; inability to work to their potential affects the employee’s morale and also affects the company’s net performance.
3. Cognitive Functioning
Food for the stomach is also food for the brain. Concentration levels hit a dead end and it becomes difficult to think clearly or creatively, affecting work output. It is more likely to cause irritability and stress associated with meeting deadlines and targets, when one goes for prolonged periods without intake of timely meals.
Nearly 60% of the human body is composed of water. The metabolic and biochemical processes take place in the body fluids, and hence it is important that we keep the balance in check by drinking the optimal amount of water.
A considerable percentage of a person’s water intake for a day comes from the food they consume. Skipping meals interferes with the balance of the water level in one’s body, possibly even causing dehydration. Additionally, relying on packaged juices, coffee and tea only worsens it, with the high sugar content and caffeine doing damage to different organ systems in the long run.
Ensuring that the workforce remains healthy and active can benefit an organization in the following ways:
The backbone of any company is its workforce. A good step to ensure their physical wellness would be to identify if their food habits are healthy. Working for long hours requires sustained energy, to remain productive through the day. A balanced diet ensures that the energy supply keeps the body and brain active and alert. People who are on healthier diets tend to have a stronger immune system, thus not prone to falling sick often. This reduces the loss of work hours for the organization and the employee.
2. Better mood ensures mindfulness at work
Nothing describes an irritable state better than the way the term ‘hangry’ does. Don’t let hunger pangs get the better of you, while you are at work. It is important however, to consume food that will not affect one’s digestive system. Spicy, oily food may cause physical discomforts and make a person irritable, further affecting their mood and in turn productivity. With the employees busy with their work life, giving them a helping hand in making the right choices will take them a long way.
Here are some ways to promote healthy food habits in your workplace:
Informative talks and interactive sessions can be organized for employees. It is important to call in experts like dieticians or nutrition experts for the same, so as to educate the employees about the various aspects of balanced nutrition. Conducting these regularly will motivate them to pick up beneficial eating habits and put them on the track to good health. Arranging for a doctor consultation for employees would help in providing them the right guidance.
2. Liven up the cafeteria
Providing visual stimuli has been one of the key marketing strategies of food chains. Adapt the same at your cafeteria by placing charts and digital posters; they need to be appealing and at the same time informative and promote healthy diets. Replace the snack counters that serve unhealthy food products with healthier options; this access will motivate them to turn eating healthy into a habit.
3. Promoting food breaks
Encourage your employees to make use of timely lunch breaks in order to build a healthy routine for having meals. Allow for team lunches or snack breaks in the office space, even if they are short in duration. This ensures that no one skips their food and is also a space where they can build their interpersonal relationship; nothing more fun than bonding over food!
4. Celebrate big wins by eating healthy
On occasions of celebrations, such as success on a big project, provide the teams with food which is nourishing as well as delicious. Fruit smoothies, nuts-dry fruit based mixtures and fresh salads can replace the counters of pizzas or aerated drinks. Change the definition of tasty, one healthy snack at a time!
5. Stir up a pot of health
Encourage potluck sessions in office! The only condition being, health rules the menu. This allows for people to look at healthy eating as a collective goal rather than an individual one hence making them motivated to follow it more actively.
6. Look out for your buddies who hesitate to eat
Make sure that your colleagues and other staff are not missing out on their food. Share your secret health tips and recipes, so that they can benefit from them as well.
7. Fitness challenges based on healthy eating
Make the process fun for all! Create weekly challenges for healthy eating goals and fun rewards, reminding them that the bigger reward is in being healthier, happier individuals.
There has been a tremendous shift globally in the way healthy living is being practiced; corporate companies have started implementing various wellness programs for their employees focusing on ways to keep ill health at bay.
Cultivating these healthy habits may be a task that needs a push from a motivating and supportive source.
We at The Fuller Life have the perfect solution; The League of the Fit, a creative initiative to motivate people towards taking up good health as their goal. This fitness challenge focuses on building healthy eating habits and also on simple and doable fitness tips for employees, while they are at their work desks. All you need is to get on board with us and take up the challenge! Good health will follow.
We are always happy to guide you with your employee wellbeing needs. Contact us!
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