Encourage your staff to aim for a healthy lifestyle – make positive choices and take control of their health. Look at all areas of wellbeing and don’t just focus on weight. Encourage them to feel good about themselves for making small changes – these can lead to big improvements.
You will find that the changes made to diet and physical activity now can greatly increase a person's energy, help them sleep better and reduce the risk of depression - all of which adds up to better productivity and team play.
Fruit & Vegetables - Are You Getting Enough?
Most Australians eat only half the amount of fruit and vegies recommended for good health. Adults need to eat at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegies each day.
Workers in the landscape industry are no different and due to it being a predominantly male domain coupled with limited on site food storage and eating areas it can be a recipe for degraded nutrition on a daily basis.
But if doesn't have to be this way and since the benefits of a healthier, happier workforce are wide reaching it makes sense to support and encourage your staff to adopt a more healthy lifestyle
How many serves of fruit and vegetables should I eat?
The minimum recommended intake of vegetables for adults is 5-6 serves per day.
The minimum recommended intake of fruit for adults is 2 serves per day.
How many days a week do you achieve this?
Dietary patterns high in vegetables, legumes/beans and fruit can help protect us against chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke and some types of cancers. They may also prevent excessive weight gain.
The scientific evidence of the health benefits of eating vegetables and fruit has been reported for decades and continues to strengthen.
Different vegetables can help protect the body in different ways, so it’s important to choose a variety of colours, particularly:
To meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health, you need to eat a variety from each of the five food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. It is not necessary to eat from each food group at every meal. In fact, in some instances, you only need to eat some of the foods in each food group a couple of times a week.
It is also important to enjoy a variety of foods within each of the Five Food Groups because different foods vary in the amount of the key nutrients that they provide. For example, in the vegetables and legumes food group, orange vegetables such as carrots and pumpkins contain significantly more vitamin A than other vegetables such as white potatoes.
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
So how can you encourage your staff to adopt healthy eating choices which have a better fit with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating? Here's a few simple ideas to get you started :-
If your business has staff on worksites each day -
consider providing an 'esky' for your staff complete with cold bricks to encourage safe storage of healthy food items, particularly in Summer. Could be a small one for each staff member or a larger one kept in the ute for all staff on site that day to use.
for longer term jobs with a permanent site office, refrigerated food storage facilities could be made available
each week a selection of fruit could be made available
provide an insulated water container with a tap or bottled water on each job site
Encourage staff to utilise these initiatives rather than heading to the nearest fast food outlet at break times - improvements can be made with small choices to start with and if everyone encourages each other it's easier to have your team working together to achieve the same health goals.
If your business has a traditional office environment -
ensure adequate refrigerator space is available for staff to store their lunch each day
provide a microwave oven for safe reheating of meals
consider a fridge with a water filter or provide a water cooler stand elsewhere in the office
provide a selection of fruit each week for staff to enjoy
consider removing vending machines with unhealthy items
share nutritional information in this Workplace Wellness Program with staff on a regular basis
It is easy to have too much and too many of these foods and drinks, and many people do.
These food choices are not necessary for a healthy diet and are too high in saturated fat and/or added sugars, added salt or alcohol and low in fibre.
These foods and drinks can also be too high in kilojoules (energy). Many tend to have low levels of essential nutrients so are often referred to as ‘energy-dense’ but ‘nutrient-poor’ foods. The problem is that they can take the place of other more nutritious foods. Also, the higher levels of kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars, added salt and/or alcohol that they contain are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
And that's really the point here - reducing your risk of succoumbing to chronic disease over a lifetime means subtle but ongoing changes to your overall lifestyle.
Making an occasional choice of a discretionary food item should be limited to 600 kj which is less than you might think.
What types of food are included in this category?
Higher added sugars
Higher fat and added sugars
Sweetened soft drinks and cordials
Butter, cream, ghee
Certain tacos, nachos, enchilada
Some processed meats
Some sauces/ dressings
Sweet pies and crumbles
Mixed alcoholic drinks
Assistance is Available -
There are lots of organisations and Government departments offering support, counselling and assistance to anyone needing it - you just need to know where to look:-