Many people spend the majority of their day at work. Therefore, the food available determines what employees eat throughout their day. Employers can encourage healthy eating by offering healthy foods at their meetings and work-sponsored events.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there are some general guidelines to follow when deciding what food to offer at a meeting:
· Whenever serving food, always offer at least one fruit or vegetable dish.
· Always offer whole grain carbohydrates. When selecting these products, be sure that the first or second ingredient lists whole before the grain. Just because something claims to be multi-grain or wheat does not mean that it is whole grain.
· If offering dairy products such as yogurt or cream-cheese, offer a low or non-fat variety.
· All sources of protein offered should be lean choices. Always offer a vegetarian option such as a soy-based protein or bean dish.
· Offer low-fat condiments such as vinaigrettes or yogurt-based dressings and spreads on the side.
· When offering food, always make water available for those attending.
· Other healthy beverages to offer at meetings include unsweetened iced tea, hot coffee or tea, and skim or 1% milk.
· If serving juice, serve only 100% juice and offer serving sizes of 12 oz. or less.
Serving local and seasonal foods is also a good practice. Serving local foods supports the local community, economy, and agriculture. It is also more environmentally friendly because it eliminates the need for artificial heat and light to create year round growing conditions. In addition, local farmers often use less pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers. There is less fossil fuel burned because the food does not need to be transported many miles before consumption. Local and in-season foods are also fresher and taste better.
By providing healthy, local food at work functions, it will create a health conscious environment within your worksite.
Article written by Hannah Murray: Steuben Rural Health Network at IHS