A Healthy Environment
Making your workplace healthier starts with creating a healthy environment. That means limiting access to energy-dense foods such as candy and soda, and increasing the availability of healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
A good place to start is with vending machines. Encourage your employer to have healthy options in your vending machines. Some examples include, yogurt, apples, string cheese, pre-packaged sandwiches, and granola bars. Reduce the availability of candy, chocolate, and other less nutritious choices.
Consider using the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions resource, Health and Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations to align worksite food environments with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, increasing the availability of healthier choices in cafeterias, vending, and snack bars.
Another central location for food in the workplace is during meetings. Often meetings are catered or food is provided to employees. Help make your workplace healthier by encouraging your employer to provide healthy food options and appropriate portion sizes. Opt for sandwiches, veggie trays, salads and soups instead of fried chicken nuggets or pastries. The Utah Department of Health has a healthy food policy for meetings. The American Cancer Society has a tool to help companies organize meetings and events with health in mind. University of Minnesota Public Health has created guidelines for offering Healthy Foods for meetings.
A great way to implement changes in things such as vending and lunch meetings is by creating and initiating a worksite wellness policy. Policy's can be individualized to meet the needs of your workplace and can provide guidance for a healthier workplace, such as:
- Smoke-free workplace policies
- Healthy food policies for work events
- Allowing space for fitness equipment
- Requiring food vendors to offer healthier selections at work
Find out if your workplace has a wellness policy in place and see what you can do to help create one if there is not.
Produce for a Better health Foundation has a toolkit available for worksite wellness managers, with a focus on fruits and vegetables.