You are what you eat. Unfortunately, a sizable portion of today’s workforce is going about their lunch breaks all the wrong ways and paying the price through lethargy, stress, and overspending. By implementing health-focused cafeterias in their workplaces, many employers could see a rise in productivity and overall well-being among their staff members.
Picture the typical lunch break for the typical office worker: it most likely involves someone ducking out for an hour and stopping at any number of fast food restaurants or microwaving a frozen meal for a quick, cheap, and satisfying bite. However, the momentary bliss of a greasy burger is negated over time by the cumulative effect of years upon years of fatty foods high in saturated fat.
For many, the reason for eating out on their lunch breaks is convenience. They have so much else on their mind, that the quality of what they eat is an afterthought. But one’s diet should be a priority. A meal made at home is practically guaranteed to be healthier than one at a restaurant, but if you find yourself unable to make the time to prepare meals in advance, or if you have a limited cooking vocabulary, this can be discouraging. However, on-site cafeterias with healthy eating options can be of an indispensable benefit to employees and employers alike.
Healthy eating does not need to be restrictive or painful. Some of the most popular lunch items are healthy, just as long as the right choices are made. Whole-grain pasta, for instance, is a much healthier option than regular pasta and would be easy to implement into just about any cafeteria situation. Another cafeteria staple, the salad bar, can be incorporated with just about no hassle. Fresh produce is delicious and ready for any consumption from the moment of picking; by having it right by one’s office, they’ll be on the road to healthy eating.
Lunch is not the only meal that needs to be considered. After all, breakfast is commonly called “the most important meal of the day”, and for good reason. It helps to set a tone for the day; a good breakfast can help lead to a good and productive workday, no breakfast can lead to lethargy and perhaps surprisingly, weight gain. If a workplace cafeteria has healthy breakfast options like fresh fruit and oatmeal, employees who find themselves in too much of a rush can start their workday off as positively as possible, which will lead to more productivity. Any sensible manager would cherish the opportunity to have a more productive team on staff.
Company cafeterias can help make employees feel better not only physically, but mentally too. With a company cafeteria, employees will have a go-to, easy to access place to socialize. From there, they can foster bonds which can lead to stronger workplace unity. Compare this to employees all heading out to different restaurants to eat, and you can see why company cafeterias would greatly improve morale amongst employees.
Most of us are looking to spend less money, not more, and healthy company cafeterias with lots of variety can help financially too. A study showed that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables available and lowering the cost can dramatically increase the number of people who choose those as options.
Companies would are looking to bring in cafeterias can reduce stress themselves by bringing in a professional food service management company for their cafeteria, as their food management expertise will make the process easier and more beneficial in the long-run. A healthy cafeteria can bring a slew of positive effects to the workplace.
Author: Chad Brown resides in Lynchburg, Virginia and is principal of nutrition consulting firm designed to develop healthy workplace environments. Chad received his undergrad degree from Temple University and is currently traveling throughout Africa working with organizations to increase nutrition in rural environments.