Healthy eating is essential for good health and contributes to positive well being. The food we choose to eat has a profound effect on both our short term and long term health.
Many of the leading causes of disease and disability in our society, such as obesity, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain forms of cancer, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis are associated with poor nutritional choices. Not only do our choices have a physical impact on our body, they can also contribute to our mental health, affecting levels of concentration, mental alertness and ability to cope with everyday stresses and strains.
Healthy eating is simply about getting the balance right. A balanced diet contains a variety of types of food, including lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals, some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils, and some reduced fat dairy foods. We should also be keeping well hydrated by drinking about 6-8 glasses of water, every day.
Why encourage healthy eating and 5-a-day at work?
Adults can spend up to 60% of their waking hours in a work environment and may eat one or more meals plus snacks at work. The workplace provides a great opportunity to positively influence eating habits. It can raise awareness of healthy eating and its role in determining health; increase the accessibility of healthy foods and make the healthier choice the easier choice through workplace policies. This in turn can translate into the family environment and can potentially have further reaching effects for other family members.
Benefits to employers
- Less sickness absence – well nourished people are more resistant to illness and recover more quickly
- Better working relationships – a meal break where staff can eat together away from their desk in a social atmosphere can improve relationships
- Increased productivity and staff morale
Benefits to employees
- Better nutritional health
- Weight management
- Looking and feeling good
- Feeling valued, leading to high morale and increased job satisfaction.
- Better working conditions
- Better working relationships