March is National Nutrition Month. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics introduced this campaign in an effort to encourage Americans to make informed nutritional choices and promote healthy eating and exercise habits. The theme of 2018’s National Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food.” Now is a perfect opportunity to kick-start nutrition initiatives at your workplace. Celebrating and promoting nutrition in the workplace helps motivate busy employees to engage in healthy eating habits at the office.
If you haven’t taken the opportunity to celebrate National Nutrition Month at your office, now is an excellent time to do so and launch a wellness mission to help employees focus on making smart nutritional choices for all of spring. It’s essential for employers to promote healthy eating habits in the workplace because employees who eat healthily tend to be more productive and generally healthier. What employees choose to eat throughout the day can either slow them down or fuel them for a productive workday. Maintaining a balanced diet helps employees feel more energized and focused by supplying them with the nourishment their bodies need to succeed.
A healthy diet is also one of the best things employees can do for their overall health and well-being. Along with regular exercise, eating a balanced diet will help reduce the risk of chronic illness and increase longevity. With nearly half of Americans living with chronic diseases that are partially preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, it’s crucial that employees are educated on how their food choices at work can affect them long-term. The risk for these chronic diseases – like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer – can be significantly reduced through a balanced, healthy diet.
Besides disease prevention, positive eating habits and a nutritious diet offer other physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Healthier heart. A diet rich in heart-healthy fats, whole-grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables will help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels while promoting optimal heart health.
- Better sleep. While fatty and sugary foods can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep, the nutrients found in many healthy foods promote quality sleep.
- Increased energy. The vitamins, minerals and nutrients obtained from nutritious foods are essential for increasing and maintaining energy throughout the day.
- Mental health benefits. Research found that healthy, balanced diets can significantly lower the risk of depression and help support mental and emotional well-being.
- Stronger immune system. A balanced diet that includes healthy foods such as spinach, broccoli or yogurt, can boost the immune system and help reduce the chances of catching the common cold or flu.
- Better brain function. Consuming a variety of nutritious foods boosts memory, concentration and overall brain function. Food choices also have a direct effect on mood and attitude.