According to a CareerBuilder report, 44% of US workers say that they’ve gained weight at their current job, and 55% feel overweight. And it should come as no surprise that the most commonly made (and broken) New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and get fit. As you wind down 2017 and look to the year ahead, why not make your own resolution to be a catalyst for lasting change in employee health? Since food is the single biggest determinant of health status, supporting your employees in making healthier eating decisions is a great first step in your corporate wellness efforts.
Whether your employees are trying to lose weight, lower their blood pressure, control their blood sugar, or simply feel better, jumpstarting a healthier lifestyle begins with food. They probably know what foods are best to cut back on, but understanding what to eat instead can be confusing, especially with the rise in popularity of certain clean eating ideologies like Paleo and Whole30 that call for cutting everything from added sugars to entire food groups.
The best way to help them jumpstart a healthier lifestyle is to get them to stop debating which foods to ditch and instead start incorporating more whole, nutrient-dense foods into their diet, including whole or minimally processed foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. Why these foods? They’re packed with health-promoting nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they provide the body with high-quality fuel.
Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins and minerals and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Additionally, veggies fill us up with fewer calories, which is helpful if we want to lose weight.
Whole grains are great because they carry a lower glycemic load which translates to better blood sugar control and fewer insulin spikes. They’re also a good source of fiber, which helps keep us full and regular.
Healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats are an excellent source of slow-burning energy and they even help improve blood cholesterol levels, which can reduce our risk for heart disease. Similarly, lean protein foods provide the body with sustainable fuel since they’re slower to digest, and they contain all of the amino acids needed to build and maintain healthy muscles.
Below you’ll find a variety of foods from each of these four categories that you can share with employees to help them get started in the new year. The list is long, but again, it’s not about eating all of these foods, but choosing a variety of those that are most appealing to each individual.
Ultimately, the best foods to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle are the fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins that your employees already like. Not only will they eat more of them, more often, but there will also be less room on their plate and in their stomachs for the foods they want to cut back on. It’s a win-win!
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, acai berries, etc.)
- Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.)
- Dark leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Potatoes (with skin)
- Sweet corn
- Baby corn
- Green beans
- Hearts of palm
- Sugar snap peas
- Swiss chard
- Water chestnuts
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat flour (100 percent whole-wheat bread, pasta, tortillas, etc.)
- Whole grain corn/corn meal (100 percent corn tortillas, polenta, etc.)
- Wild rice
- Nuts and nut butters
- Seeds (pumpkin, chia, ground flaxseed, etc.)
- Olives and olive oil
- Soy nuts
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut and seed spreads (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sesame seed butter, etc.)
- Soy protein products (soy crumbles, breakfast “sausage” patties, etc.)
- Beef (eye of round roast and steak, sirloin tip side steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak, top sirloin steak)
- Lamb (chop, leg or roast)
- Pheasant (skinless)
- Pork tenderloin
- Veal (loin chop or roast)
- Low- or reduced-fat dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, greek yogurt, kefir, etc.)
Corporate wellness programs that focus on nutrition are key to establishing healthier lifestyles. Interested in learning how Zipongo can help your employees make better food choices? Contact our sales team today at firstname.lastname@example.org.