Healthy Eating & Healthy Weight

What your employees eat may feel like something that is out of your control but there are many ways in which you can promote a healthy diet as part of your healthy workplace. Take a look at our handy tips and information about local support below.

What is healthy eating?

Healthy eating means eating a balanced diet that allows our bodies to receive all the nutrients we need to feel healthy, well and perform at our best.

It is important that employees do not skip meals in an effort to be more productive. This will have the opposite effect and make them more likely to consume more calories when they do eat, which can increase fatigue.  

 

The Eatwell guide from the NHS shows that people should try to:

  • Eat 5 fruit and veg a day
  • Include carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice or pasta, ideally opt for wholegrain
  • Have a small amount of unsaturated oils and spreads
  • Incorporate some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives such as soya products

 

Alongside a healthy diet, it is important for your employees to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated keeps our minds working faster and improves how we feel. It is recommended that we drink 6 -8 glasses of fluids every day - water, low-fat milks, lower-sugar or sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee all count.

 

An unhealthy diet containing high levels of fat, salt and sugar can have a  negative impact on your employees' performance. This can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lower energy levels
  • Reduced ability to think clearly
  • Higher levels of stress and depression
  • Decreased productivity.

An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of developing a number of health conditions including: coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.

In Gloucestershire these types of diseases are costing the NHS £160 million per annum.

There are 31,500 people with diabetes in Gloucestershire alone. Many people have found that, with the help of free services such as Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, the improvements to their diet have meant they can come off their diabetes medication for good.

Long-term health risks caused by an unhealthy diet can have a huge impact on your company. Statutory sick pay can cost almost £2,000 per employee.

 

People effected by obesity can have an impact on businesses in numerous different ways. People who are obese will often have to take more time off work – both short and long-term – because of associated health conditions. People effected by obesity can also affect the productivity of a workplace; if someone is overweight, their health will be worse, and they will be more likely to suffer from issues such as back problems or sleep apnoea. This means that even if they aren’t taking time off work, ‘presenteeism’ can be an issue, as the staff member’s health conditions can affect their ability to do their work properly. 

Research has shown that workplace interventions can lead to improvements in diet. There is a wealth of evidence that shows that employees who participate in programmes in a variety of workplace settings lose more weight, achieve lower BMI and reduce their percentage of body fat when compared to control groups that did not participate.

 

What you can do to support Healthy Eating and Healthy Weight 

 

Having a healthy workplace scheme should encourage employees to take on a more active role in a healthy lifestyle.

Educate your team – many people might believe they are eating healthily but with some guidance and knowledge they can make smarter choices. You could encourage this by:

  • Promoting the FREE one-to-one coaching from Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire
  • Encouraging employees to prepare/plan their lunch for the week
  • Displaying posters from trustworthy sources (such as the NHS) around the workplace – see resource section below

Take a look at our Activity section too. When people are more active they tend to want to eat more healthily too.

Using Best-You to help your team.

Best-You is a FREE online platform and app that you and your employees can use as your own personal platform to communicate, create goals and track your progress.

Create a private Group and invite employees to discuss healthy lifestyles at work – activity, healthy eating or anything else that fits your organisation.

Employees can create goals for healthy eating, smoking, alcohol and weight. They can track their progress against their goal each day and Best-You will give motivational feedback. 

Best-You is full of helpful guidance for healthy eating, healthy weight and hydration. The hydration space includes a quick hydration reaction game that employees can take if they want to.   

Promoting healthy eating at work can include simple things such as keeping a full fruit bowl in the kitchen, providing some healthy snacks during meetings or in company vending machines. This will give people the option of healthy snacks without forcing it upon them which could discourage them. See our healthy eating at work ideas below:

  • Have fruit and healthy snacks around the office and in vending machines
  • Ensure free water is available
  • Have sugar alternatives available for hot drinks
  • Find local suppliers of healthy breakfasts and lunches
  • Run a healthy eating campaign
  • Create a healthy eating group on Best-You for your company – share recipes and advice
  • Promote national awareness days / campaigns i.e. Meat Free Mondays, Nutrition and Hydration Week etc.
  • If your workplace has a café on site make sure that healthy affordable options are available
  • Provide information on healthy eating, weight control and regular physical activity
  • Share communications from time to time on the links between diet and common health risks such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Provide nutritional information on healthy options at the workplace cafeteria
  • Provide healthy food options during company events
  • Offer periodic weigh-ins and BMI calculations for staff
  • Undertake regular staff health assessments and triage individuals to health coaching where appropriate
  • Provide advice on preparing healthy meals and eating on the road.

 

Additional Support 

 

National Resources

There are lots of resources online that can support you with Mental Wellbeing and Stress in the workplace and that you can recommend to employees, if appropriate.

NHS Eat Well

NHSChange 4 Life

Public Health EnglandCampaign resources – download posters, leaflets etcOne You, Physical activity, healthy eating and healthier weight: a toolkit for employers

Best-YouAn online platform and app for self-care, create a healthy eating group and more – see Best-You section below for more details.

Other apps for improving Healthy Eating include: Easy meals, Change4Life, Change4Life Smart Recipes 

You can find more apps and tools in the NHS apps library

 

Local Resources

Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire

Location: HLS Gloucestershire, Suite 1B,
First Floor, Eastgate House,
Eastgate Street,
Gloucester GL1 1PX

Phone: 0800 122 3788

Email: glccg.hlsglos@nhs.net

Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire offer one-to-one health coaches to support with healthy weight, getting more active, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.

You can also contact Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire for FREE Slimming World sessions**

**Ask your GP if you qualify and if eligible, your GP can refer you to Slimming World if you meet the criteria. If you don't, our coaches can support you on a one-to-one basis.