We spend about a third of our waking lives at work, and so for some people, a significant portion of their food intake happens at work. A workplace that supports healthy eating can significantly contribute to the health and wellbeing of its workers.
Obstacles to healthy eating
Healthy eating at work can be a challenge. Some of the obstacles to making healthier food choices include:
- lack of healthy food from vending machines, canteens or cafes
- lack of kitchen facilities to store or prepare food broght from home
- challenges of workplace culture or regular social events such as drinks or morning teas
- no healthy food options provide at catered meetings or events.
For workers who spend most of their time at a dedicated worksite, having a place to bring, store and prepare food makes it easier to eat healthily at work.
- If you have kitchen or tearoom facilities, make sure that you have adequate and well maintained storage cupboards, fridge and preparation space.
- Inexpensive kitchen equipment such as a microwave oven, toaster and toasted sandwich maker can mean workers can bring food from home to heat up, rather than rely on takeaways.
- If you have a canteen, vending machine or snack bowl, make sure there are some reasonably priced healthy alternatives.
Off-site and mobile settings
Workers who work in the field or on the road can face additional challenges to healthy eating; such as storing food safely and getting access to healthy food.
- eskies or chiller bags so food can be safely stored away from a fridge.
- drinking bottles so workers always have access to fresh water.
A few simple changes to what you provide at catered work meetings, morning teas, Christmas parties and other events can make a big difference. It can be as easy as:
- providing a fruit platter
- including more vegetables in sandwiches and on platters
- reducing portion sizes
- limiting foods high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar
- including wholegrain bread options for sandwiches
- limiting processed meats
- including vegetarian or vegan options
- limiting deep fried foods and choosing oven-baked, grilled or poached foods instead.