How education on nutrition is key to instilling dietary change in the workplace.
Someone recently said to me: ‘I don’t see why companies would want talks on nutrition – surely people should know what to eat!’ And she is right - people should know! However the statistics paint a very different picture:
Three quarters of adults are failing to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day (NHS in 2017)
As stated in the ads, obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer. Being overweight can also raise the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and dementia….
The average annual cost of sickness per employee is £600 (CIPD).
Research also shows that 5 out of 6 of us will end up with at least one chronic disease by the time we reach our sixties (Office of National Statistics). And no, it’s not just an inevitable result of ageing. Type 2 Diabetes, for example, is almost entirely preventable, yet 3.7 million people are living with a diagnosis of the condition in the UK according to Diabetes UK.
In my opinion, these alarming facts are largely down to lack of education combined with the harmful, addictive nature of ultra-processed foods that form the perfect storm for so many diseases. According to a French study ultra-processed foods are ‘killing us’ and this comes as no surprise to me, does it to you?
Sadly, people aren't taught about nutrition at an early age, so are ignorant about the adverse effects of the daily burger, cola, biscuits, confectionery and other sugar-laden foods on their bodies and minds. Although everyone knows that fruit and veg are good for them, it doesn't seem to make a difference to the nation's eating habits, given that only a quarter of the population is paying heed to this advice.
Which all makes talks on nutrition in the workplace essential; responsible employers have a duty of care to their workforce, and helping them understand that what they eat has a dramatic impact on their wellbeing cannot be over emphasized.
Time and time again I go into companies (of all sizes), and when I ask attendees what the key take-homes are from my talks, this is what they say:
Drink more water
Eat more vegetables
Eat less sugar
Eat more healthy fats
Eat more protein with my breakfast
Switch to whole grains
Limit the caffeine…
Hardly feedback from people who know what to eat!
Which is why I construct my talks to have a very definite and useful purpose: to educate employees about what is a truly balanced diet and help them to make the right choices so they can perform better at work, avoid taking time off sick and still have enough energy to enjoy life outside office hours.
“I would recommend, I have tried to eat healthily but don’t know where to start. This has been helpful with supplying ideas of meals”. APM
I make the talks educational, enlightening and entertaining, with an array of topics that are relevant to people at work:
POWER Nutrition for Lasting Energy
How to lose weight healthily and keep it off
Nutrition for memory and concentration
Good mood foods
Boost your immunity
Eat well to improve your resilience to stress
And many more…
My unique POWER Plate is one of the tools I use in my talks to drive the point home about what really constitutes a balanced diet, and when asked if the acronym helps them remember the principles of healthy eating, the answer is always Yes.
Putting wellbeing and healthy eating at the heart of the business ecosystem can benefit both staff and management alike as, after as little as one hour, employees can learn how to eat well, work well, perform well…and thrive.
It’s a win-win situation as Healthy Employees = Healthy Business.