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Encouraging healthy eating at work could have more benefits than you think…

When a workplace can help their staff to make better food choices, the results can be astounding. From reductions in stress to a lower risk of cancers and heart disease, healthy eating makes sense from numerous perspectives. But does it make business sense too, and how can you make things better in your canteen?

The business case for healthy eating

According to the Department of Health, we eat an average of one in six of our meals outside of the home. If our workplace has a canteen, then a good number of these meals will take place there, so being able to make a healthy choice is crucial if we’re going to stay fit and well. Obesity is predicted to cost the UK more than £45bn a year by 2050 if it is not tackled quickly, and employers should be doing their bit to ensure people are encouraged to live better.

Added to this, on average people in the UK are working longer hours than they ever have before, so keeping our workforce fit and healthy is key to getting the best out of them in our businesses. Healthy food in canteens is linked with lower absences, reduced fatigue and higher productivity, leading to tangible businesses benefits as a direct result of this action.

Implementing a healthier canteen menu

It’s not always easy to get people eating healthier, but there are some things you can do to encourage a better choice. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Change the food layout: Remove cakes and biscuits from the serving bench, and replace with fruit, popcorn, raisin bread or other healthier alternatives.
  • Change the drinks fridge arrangement too: People naturally choose the things they see first, so put healthy drinks at eye level and the less healthy alternatives at the bottom. A good strategy is to put water at the top and on the middle shelves, reduced fat milk or yoghurt drinks below that, juice on the next one down and fizzy drinks right at the bottom.
  • Promote changes through communication: Promote healthy eating with posters, social media and internal newsletters. You could even add vouchers for money off healthier meals and snacks.
  • Substitute unhealthy choices with alternatives: Swap out foods for low fat, low sugar and low salt alternatives. Try low salt and sugar baked beans, for example; chances are nobody will notice the difference!
  • Get some appealing bistro and canteen furniture: All too often, workers are taking lunch at their desks. This is not only unhygienic, it’s also bad for their diet, as eating while distracted can encourage us to eat more than we need. Invest in some comfortable, appealing bistro and canteen furniture, and insist people take a break from their desks to eat lunch, even if they brought their own from home.

Big changes start with small steps, but if you’re serious about creating a healthier, fitter office culture, over time these changes will take effect. For a great range of bistro and canteen furniture, check out our offers on the website.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 31, 2018 at 11:05 am