Whether your team is enjoying expensed meals while working from home or participating in group food orders while we slowly get back to the office, there are many ways to encourage everyone to order healthier meals. What makes a meal healthy? Look for dish variety, customizability, vegetable options and non-fried dish options when searching for restaurants to choose for your next large group food order. Why is it important for your team to eat healthy? One main reason is that eating a healthy balanced diet is linked to increased productivity. In fact, a healthy diet can raise productivity levels by up to 20%. Other benefits include improved concentration, energy levels and even a mood boost. On the other hand, employees with unhealthy diets can be 66% more likely to report reduced job performance, according to a recent study.
Check out these tips to inspire your team to consider healthier options for your next group lunch order:
1. Opt for “build our own” concepts.
This allows your team to build individualized meals suited to their needs, which can be particularly important for those with restricted options such as food allergies. Native Foods in Chicago offers many customizable options, for example, their Crazy Good Grilled Chicken Sandwich comes with options to remove ingredients or order those items on the side:
Poke Bar in Portland is another great example of a build your own concept. They offer customizable poke bowls with multiple base and protein options as well as lots of vegetable mix in options and an array of sauces.
2. Go “plant based”.Consider the ratio of vegetables and plant based proteins to starch and meat options on a menu. Look for restaurants that offer many options consisting of non-starchy, leafy green vegetables and plant based proteins (which include foods such as beans, lentils, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds) can help steer your team towards healthier, more nutrient dense meal options. You don’t have to be a strict vegan to enjoy some meatless meal options, in fact themes such as “meatless monday” can be used to inspire your team to think outside the box and increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables and plant based proteins at lunch time. Fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals which help support a health digestive system and boost the immune system. For example, Aladdin’s Eatery in Cleveland offers many options for plant based, vegetable forward meals, such as the Hummus Falafel Rolled wrap:
Gracias Madre in San Francisco is a Mexican restaurant dedicated to vegetarian cuisine and known for its plant based Mexican cuisine. Enchiladas Rojas, for example, are stuffed with vegetables and served with beans and greens. Gracias Madre even offers customizability with options to add vegetable or protein based toppings:
3. Customizable options are key.
Look for restaurants that offer vegetable sides or add ons in place of starchy, processed foods. A side salad or cup of broth based soup instead of chips with a sandwich is a great way to improve the nutrition of a meal. In addition, having the option to add vegetable toppings to sandwiches, burrito, pizza or other composed dish is another great option. Other customization include swapping white bread or pasta to whole wheat for a sandwich, burger, pizza or pasta meal, as well as skipping the bread entirely and eating the meal in a bowl or salad format instead. Bareburger in Queens offers high quality, highly customizable burger and salad options. Consumers can select their bun type or opt for no bun, as well as choose their protein, add vegetables, cheese, dressing or even remove certain ingredients.
4. Quality matters.
5. Opt for non-fast food chains.
6. Select from our Healthy Eats carousel.
The healthy eats carousel features all of our nutritionist approved restaurants in all markets. Our team of nutritionists select restaurants based on a certain type of criteria, including (but not limited to) vegetable, whole grain and lean protein options as well as quality of ingredients.
7. Choose certain types of cuisine.
Cuisine types, such as Mediterranean, Japanese, Greek and Spanish tend to have more options for healthier meals. Mediterranean and Greek cuisine tends to be higher in vegetables, heart healthy fats, plant based proteins and fish. Japanese and Spanish cuisines tend to be lighter in fare and have more fish and seafood options as well as broth based dishes and vegetables. It can be a bit easier to find nutrient dense meal options when ordering group lunch with these types of cuisines. For example, sushi is usually a crowd pleaser and with many fish options such as sashimi, this can definitely be a healthy choice. Chikarashi in Manhattan offers a new take on Asian cuisine offering traditional sashimi meal options as well as fish and rice based bowls.
Healthier lunch options are readily available from a variety of restaurants and with these tips, your team is sure to have their preferred choice. Still considering whether group food orders or expensed meals is right for your team? According to an Upwork survey, 1 in 10 employees has an internet stipend, office supply stipend, and virtual happy hours to attend, but only 1 in 20 has food delivery. In fact, 56% of employees said that food benefits would increase their productivity.
Both Group Orders and Expensed Meals provide a simple solution to help every employee find a delicious, hassle-free, and personalized meal to keep them happy, healthy, and more productive. It’s easy to start your order, whether you are eating right away or scheduling a meal in advance for breakfast, lunch or dinner and all meals can be expensed to a single corporate account. Contact us today to see how we can help.