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Healthy Eating At Work to Alleviate Stress



It’s a vicious circle. You’re stressed so you don’t eat well. And when you’re not eating well, you’re likely to be more stressed. Work can be a stressful environment.


According to a Harvard University study, stress ‘raises the body’s metabolic needs and increases the use and excretion of many nutrients… and creates a chain reaction of behaviours that can negatively affect eating habits, leading to other health problems down the road’.


There are typical work stress factors like deadlines, volume of work, interactions with colleagues, and expectations to deal with. These can pile on top of the stress we may be under in our home lives. But many businesses also have specific times of the month or year when stress levels are likely to increase. Busy periods can lead to an “all-hands-on-deck” type attitude.


Employers can support employees to help manage stress at work before it becomes a problem. And without sufficient preparation and organisation, healthy eating can be the first thing to go: if it’s even already a habit.


Why does healthy eating at work matter?

There are many benefits to eating healthily at work and employees who do so are likely to experience better moods, be more productive, have better energy levels, and be less prone to illness. These are all positive factors for better mental health too. As an employer, it is obviously preferable to have happier, more productive employees.


A recent report estimated the ‘total economic cost among working-age people due to ill health is around £150bn per annum, equivalent to 7% of GDP, with an additional total cost to the government of around £1,000 per person’. It’s a lot of money and we all pay for unhealthy habits.


Unfortunately, not all work environments make healthy eating easy. If there is little or no access to healthy foods, the work culture does not allow for a reasonable amount of time for breaks, and employees are not motivated to look after their own health, it can be difficult. Education and employer attitude can make all the difference.


How can you support employees to eat better in times of stress?

There are ways employers can support employees to eat more healthily and thrive in the workplace.

Offer the resources for healthy eating

-              If you make food available at work via free snacks, vending machines, or an employee restaurant, make sure nutritious, delicious choices are easily available at affordable prices. Offer free fruit instead of biscuits; rice, other grains, and sweet potato as well as (or instead of) chips, for example.

-              Provide fridges to allow employees to bring in their own homemade food.

-              Make sure your staff understand they can – and should - take a full lunch hour and discourage eating at the desk while working.

-              Encourage employees to switch off from work and tech and eat together socially at lunch times.

-              Educate your employees about the benefits of healthy eating.


Make healthy eating a priority

Lead by example. Offering practical educational opportunities to learn about healthy eating in the workplace can show employees that it doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming, or costly. Even when they are busy or stressed.

A hands-on workplace healthy eating workshop shows employees how and why to prepare easy, healthy, and delicious snacks and meals. These workshops are often considered a perk by employees and are a fun and interactive way for them to spend some bonding time together and learn practical skills. We use wholesome, affordable, and easy-to-find ingredients and show how these can be applied to workplace eating.


Team building healthy eating workshop

We offer half- and full-day employee workshops, as well as bespoke programmes. A small investment in employee health and wellbeing now can save a lot of time and money in the future. Please get in touch to see how we can help.

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