Employers vs. Barriers: Access to Healthy Food

05.22.19

a woman standing in front of a window

 

Mary Beth Basu, CHC, RDN, LDN
Account Executive

Time: 2 min

 

The average American worker spends approximately nine hours each day at work. Approximately 1/3 of their meals are taken during work hours, if not more. With so much time spent at the office, employee wellness programs should prioritize providing access to nutritious food when available.

When surveying Pack Health members, 69% of members reported access to unhealthy foods as a barrier to healthy eating. Today, I’m talking a little more on how employers can reduce barriers to healthy eating in the workplace through environmental, policy, and cultural changes.

  1. Remove the “eye candy”: Candy dishes sitting around on supervisor’s desks or in entryways? Fill them with a healthier treat. Instead of mini candy bars or caramels, offer sugar free gum (5 calories/piece) or lifesaver mints (15 calories/piece)
  2. Healthier vending machines: Vending machine suppliers can offer healthier options alongside best sellers. Replace the lowest-selling items with new, healthy options. Expert vending guidance like that from Alabama Department of Health suggests labelling the healthier choices with an icon or logo.
  3. Breakfast of champions: Instead of bringing doughnuts or muffins to morning meetings, bring fresh fruit or granola.
  4. Bring healthy in: Put in place a healthy catering policy for lunches brought into the office. This will show the organization’s commitment to healthy eating and supporting employee health and wellness.

Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be providing more employee-reported barriers. We’ll also be touching on strategies employers can implement to minimize barriers for employees. To get these perspectives emailed to your inbox, sign up below!