Staying well at work

By Sarah Noone Nutrition News   |   4th Apr 2019

Our expert dietitian Sarah Noone shares some ideas for workplaces to help their employees stay well at work.

A great way to tackle heart disease and stroke is through workplace wellbeing initiatives such as ‘The Irish Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Award, which encourages healthier food promotion in the workplace.

Make it Easy
Is the healthy option ‘the easy option’ in your workplace? Employers of all sizes can take steps to becoming a ‘healthy workplace’ by making the healthier choice the easy choice at work. For example, employers who have an onsite-restaurant or staff canteen can ensure healthier options are actively promoted by signing up for the Irish Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Award. If you don’t have onsite catering you can still support staff to eat healthily by offering fruit instead of biscuits in meetings, providing free drinking water and low-fat milk and spread in the staff kitchen and ensuring kitchen areas are well equipped for staff to easily prepare and store their own meals.

Lunch Breaks
Encouraging employees to take their full lunch break gives them the opportunity to avoid mindless eating ‘al desko’ and to get out for a lunchtime walk. A lunchtime stroll can be a great way to help meet the 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week recommended for health. Additionally, a change in scenery, fresh air, eating away from your desk or making lunch a social activity by eating with colleagues will help employees feel refreshed and recharged before returning to work for a busy afternoon. For more information see the Irish Heart Foundation’s Slí@work motivational workplace walking routes or our Move More Challenge to encourage physical activity in your workplace.

" Employers of all sizes can take steps to becoming a ‘healthy workplace, "

Sarah Noone, Dietitian , Irish Heart Foundation

Incentives
Incentives like free fruit Wednesdays will help employees to boost their fruit and vegetable intake or adding cucumber slices, lime, lemon or strawberries to water will encourage staff to stay hydrated throughout the day. If your workplace provides onsite catering healthy meal deal promotions e.g. buy a sandwich get a water and a piece of fruit for an extra euro can be great ways to incentivise healthier choices at work.

Vending machines
Vending machines in workplaces can be a source of temptation when hunger strikes, or employees hit the afternoon slump. If you do have vending onsite ensure that a range of healthier options are available such as plain popcorn, unsalted nuts or dried fruit. Specialist vending machines are now widely available that facilitate healthy options such as fruit, yogurt, fruit pots or salad bowls to be offered without being damaged/spilling which can be great option especially for employees working shifts.

Host a healthy workplace event
Why not consider bringing in a guest speaker who is an expert on nutrition or physical activity. When looking for nutritional or physical activity advice in relation to your health, it is advisable to ask the practitioner about their background and qualifications to ensure they are appropriately qualified. Remember Registered Dietitians are the only regulated nutrition professionals in Ireland. You could also try group activities or challenges such as healthy cookery demos, step challenges or our Move More challenge. You could also order or download some Irish Heart Foundation resources such as our Food Shopping Card, Food Diary or Step Challenge Card to support your workplace challenge or event.

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dietitian eat healthy get active healthy eating live healthy nutrition workplace awards workplace wellbeing

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