The workplace can be a minefield for people trying to eat healthy food. In the morning, you might see a pink bakery box of doughnuts in the breakroom. You may dodge that bullet, only to encounter a coworker taking lunch orders for the fast-food joint down the street. By the afternoon, you take the long way to the boss’s office to avoid the candy dish calling your name at the front desk. But resistance is futile — there’s birthday cake in the conference room.
Working from home presents its own potential pitfalls. If you didn’t prep meals in advance, the temptation is big to skip eating rather than taking the time to make something from scratch in the middle of the workday. On the flip side, if the home office is near the kitchen, it can be too easy to grab a snack...or two, or three, or more.
If your company culture doesn’t emphasize wellness and healthy eating at work, now’s a good time to start. With some simple strategies, it can be easier — and more delicious — than you may think.
Why it’s important to promote good nutrition at work
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease. About half of American adults struggle with these kinds of chronic illnesses, which are linked to unhealthy dietary choices, according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020.
Those choices don’t just affect an employee’s health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that preventable chronic health conditions are a “major contributor” to the costs of employees’ health insurance premiums and medical claims. And when employees don’t feel well, companies must also shoulder the resulting burdens: a rise in absenteeism and a drop in productivity. In fact, U.S. businesses lose $36.4 billion a year due to employees missing work, according to the CDC.
The good news is that eating healthy at work can reverse these trends, on both the individual and corporate levels. When employees eat better, they feel better—those chronic health conditions can improve. That means fewer medical costs and a team that’s more present and engaged on the job.
Offering your employees eating healthy at work ideas and solutions promotes their overall well-being. One research study found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables enhanced young adults' well-being, creativity, and curiosity. Another data analysis and review concluded that a produce-rich diet, featuring berries, citrus, and green leafy vegetables, may protect against depression symptoms while helping people feel more positive and motivated.
How to promote healthy eating at work
There are a lot of great eating healthy at work tips you can adopt at your company. They’re especially effective when integrated into a comprehensive employee wellness program.
A wellness program is a company-wide initiative to promote healthy habits and may encompass several different services. With thorough research, a dedicated leadership team, and clearly defined goals, a wellness program can create true, positive change in your employees’ lives. (Learn more about how to create a wellness program at your workplace, or look at the CDC’s Workplace Health Model.)
It’s easy—and fun—to encourage healthy eating habits with your team members. Try one or two of these ideas to get started:
Work with a registered dietitian
Your employees can learn about healthy eating patterns during a lunchtime seminar or video conference call. Another option: Offer one-on-one counseling sessions with the dietitian so that team members see how to incorporate nutrient-rich whole foods into their daily diet. Contact your local hospital or work with a corporate wellness company to learn about partnering with a dietitian.
Reward hard work
Let’s say your employees met the challenge of eating a certain number of servings of fruits and vegetables during the workweek. Reward their effort with incentives that promote good nutrition, such as free cooking classes or a DoorDash Employee Gift Card for food.
Provide healthy things to eat for lunch at work
For employees who may not have time to pack a healthy lunch, are working a long day on deadline, or are simply working from home, offer Expensed Meals. Employees can order nutritious meals anytime, anywhere, without sacrificing quality or nutritional value.
Host a tasting
Let your employees experience for themselves how delicious healthy food can be. Team up with DoorDash Full-Service Catering to offer a buffet of healthy snacks and appetizers.
Create a company-wide cookbook
Team members share their culinary talents with coworkers by contributing their favorite healthy recipes. It can be as simple as a cloud-based document, or you can go all out by printing copies for everyone in the company.
Take time for lunch
Make sure your company culture encourages lunch breaks. Employees shouldn’t feel they have to skip meals or rely on fast food to get through the day.
Revamp your vending machines
Typically, vending machines are junk food traps, with lots of sugary or processed options. Restock your machines to offer healthy snacks to eat at work. Swap out soda for bottled water, and clear out the candy and chips, replacing them with low-sodium roasted nuts, high-fiber granola bars, whole-grain crackers, and sunflower seeds. Position healthier options at eye level and more indulgent options below eye level. You may want to invest in a refrigerated vending machine from a company such as HealthyYou Vending—you can offer yogurt, smoothies, and other perishable items — or vending machines with tintec sections at the bottom to hide less healthy options.
Instead of farm-to-table, go farm-to-office
Arrange to have a farm box or community-supported agriculture (CSA) box delivery site at your office. Employees place regular orders for fresh produce to snack on at work or cook at home without having to make a trip to the store.
Make healthy habits a group effort
When ordering food delivery for your team, make sure to choose healthy sides (salads, fruit) over richer, more calorie-dense choices (fries, chips). Make it a point to place group orders with restaurants specializing in healthy menu items or work with our team of in-house registered dietitians when ordering through DoorDash Full-Service Catering.
Help your employees stay hydrated
Order reusable water bottles with your company’s logo on them and give them out to all employees. Make sure there’s a water refill station on-site, such as Bevi. This way, everyone gets plenty of H2O. Hydrating is a vital part of eating well.
Give your break room a makeover
Create an inviting space where employees want to take the time to eat. Tables, chairs, plants, and wall art are small investments that produce big results aesthetically. If you have any outdoor space available, create seating areas there, too.
Keep things cool
If you don’t have one, install a fridge for employees to bring fruits and vegetables for snacks, and high-protein items such as nut butters and cheese sticks.
A healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring. DoorDash works with thousands of partner restaurants specializing in nutritious, delicious food, giving your team plenty of options. Our in-house team of registered dietitians keep our app up to date with healthy restaurant recommendations and develop menus for a variety of dietary needs. DoorDash for Work products can be the ideal solution for promoting healthy eating habits, whether your employees are working at the office or from their homes. Contact us today to see how we can help.