As understanding of the link between what we eat and how we feel continue to grow, organisations need to pay more than lip service to employee nutrition. But above and beyond maintaining fresh contents in the office ‘fruit bowl’ what should companies be doing and how?
Mood & Food Workshops
Mood & Food are two complimentary workshops exploring mental health and nutrition, combining interactive exercises and food tasting sessions designed to help people:
- tune into and make the most of their natural energy – no matter how challenging the workload
- better understand what good nutrition looks and tastes like.
They are run by senior marketing executive turned health coach, Caroline Lamont and business psychologist Laura Knill.
Reach for the veg bowl rather than the fruit bowl
For example, 5-a-day choices often tend toward fruit rather than vegetables, raising sugar levels higher than the recommended daily intake. And people are taking 5 too literally which sets the nutrition bar a little low for optimal health.
At the same time, modern, time-poor lives encourage pre-prepared, cook-chill, processed food options, where a bottled smoothie contributes to our ‘free sugar’ intake in a way that whole fruit does not; fats and preservatives lurking under the beautifully photographed packaging of even the most upmarket ready meal.
“We want our food intake to focus on wholesome foods, as minimally processed as possible,” says Caroline. “Diet should be 50% vegetables. The more you cook at home, the more you will achieve this. You can also choose your take-out wisely: chains such as Pret, Leon, EAT, Tossed, Itsu do provide great choices for work lunches.”
Workplace environments that encourage balance
An equally important side of the equation is creating work environments that encourage balance and create the space to enable better nutrition and also reduce stress. In one EU wide study not only was lack of time was the most frequently mentioned reason for not following nutritional advice (24% of total EU sample), particularly amongst the young and well educated.
But balance is also about not feeding obsession. Office environments where the fridge is full of the latest ultra-low GI, gluten/carb free superfood are, potentially, no more healthy than those occasionally besmirched by Krispy Kremes.
Employers need to be part of the conversation. It’s about encouraging awareness but also embracing variety and balance and understanding that food is part of that picture.
A full version of this article was published by Mad World in January 2019.