There are two common problems we see regularly in client locations; dehydrated employees and staff who could benefit health-wise from improving their nutrition. So here’s some free and impartial advice on how staff can improve on both of these areas.
Now most employees will have a basic idea on the foods that they should and shouldn’t be eating. However, it is unlikely that if an employee changes from eating microwave meals during their lunch break to a salad, that they will be able to sustain this in the long term. So here are a few pointers to help your employees adopt good and sustainable habits:
- Balance – Encourage employees to bring about changes in their diet gradually. Initially, they should choose 2 or 3 meals they want to make healthier on a weekly basis and start from there. However, tell them not to deprive themselves of the foods that they enjoy … just reduce them. On a personal level, if you love a curry for example, there is always room for a Chicken Bhuna every other weekend if you have been good all week.
- Eating healthier versions of popular foods – Where staff enjoy eating certain foods then why not encourage your canteen or sandwich van to try and make healthier versions. Low fat mince in a fresh “spag bol” and even courgette noodles if you want to go the full way, are great ways of decreasing the calorie content of an enjoyable meal. A personal favorite in HP Towers on Friday’s is hand battered (egg, flour and breadcrumbs) fish with hand cut chips roasted in the oven. With plenty of veg on the side of course.
- Replace sweet treats with healthy snacks – If you see staff “biscuit-binging” then try and replace the 5 bourbons with some fruit baskets; a piece of fruit twice a week will benefit the health of your workforce and their waistline. Nutrient rich fruit is a winner for those with a sweet tooth.
- Add fruit/veg to everything – Carrying on with the above theme, this is an excellent way of increasing the fibre, minerals and vitamins in your daily diet. Spinach in a smoothie, a banana with breakfast, tomatoes added to a tuna pasta bake … just make sure portions of fruit and veg are present in every meal. Frozen mixed veg from all supermarkets is a great option as it is cheap, quick, easy and convenient.
- Protein with every meal – Making sure employees have access to a source of protein with every meal at work is a great way to reduce hunger and preserve muscle. This in turn means they will burn more fat. Scrambled eggs in the morning with spinach and tomatoes are a great start. Foods like black beans and Quinoa are easy to add to meals and are rich in protein and other nutrients.
On a busy day it is easy for all of us to forget to drink fluids. I myself find when I’m out doing health checks that I often have to remind myself to drink regularly to ensure I stay hydrated. Remember, the average person needs 2 or 3 litres of fluid on a daily basis which can be anything from tea and juice to water. Here are some great tips to keep yourself hydrated as we move into spring:
- If your workforce are fond of tea or coffee, remind them that too much caffeine can cause dehydration if consumed in large quantities. Offer non-caffeinated drinks between hot drinks to make sure employees keep dehydration at bay.
- For those employees who aren’t lovers of water then again, offer drinks like squash, juice and milk to keep them hydrated. Just remind them that juices, milk and most fizzy drinks will contain extra calories so consuming too many may impact on body fat. Low calorie squash and diet drinks are great alternatives.
- Give staff water bottles and this will encourage them to bring a drink to work with them. Having a drink on hand is always beneficial so when thirst strikes it is readily available. Drinking just an extra 500ml in work can have a positive impact on concentration and productivity levels.
- Put reminders in place for when employees should have a drink. A drink with a meal, a bottle on a desk and even setting phone reminders are all fantastic methods to make drinking extra fluid habitual. Staying better hydrated will make staff feel more awake and will also decrease hunger.
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This article has been kindly produced by our health consultant Oliver McCarthy.