Using policy to maintain a healthy food environment at work:

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submitted by: Marie Traynor RD, MSc, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Making the healthy choice the easy choice needs to become part of the workplace culture and the employees have to be a part of it. A workplace policy that addresses healthy food choices won’t work unless employees provide their input.

Who knows? Maybe most people would be fine without having food at a meeting unless it covers a usual mealtime. Maybe employees are trying to develop a healthier eating pattern for personal health reasons but feel pressured to eat the less healthy choices sitting out in common areas. Having food around all the time makes it hard to listen to your body’s signs of hunger and fullness.

When a meal or special event is part of the plan, a healthy eating policy can help ensure that:

  • at least half of the foods offered are colourful, fresh vegetables and fruit,
  • the grain offerings are from whole grains,
  • there’s a non-meat entrée choice,
  • dairy choices are lower in fat and,
  • beverage choices include water, some decaffeinated hot drinks as well as lower fat milk and, fortified milk alternatives lower in sugar.

For more information visit the Healthy Eating section at Healthunit.org; follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or call 1-800-660-5853.

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