Workplace Ideas: Food and Beverage

Posted on March 4th, 2014 by Seth Nickinson

  • Have office water coolers readily available.  Provide reusable canteens as an additional incentive.
  • Promote “Water Wednesday.”  Offer cool, fresh “spa water” with cucumbers, lemons, or oranges in it for a refreshing taste.
  • Urge employees to bring healthy brown bag lunches.
  • Let your cafeteria, catering truck, and vending machine vendors know that you want healthy food at and near your worksite.
  • Implement “Meatless Mondays” in any employer-sponsored dining areas: cutting back on animal protein is a proven preventative measure, and helps the planet and the bottom line.

  • Place incentive stickers on low fat items in vending machines and on healthy cafeteria foods.
  • Remove unhealthy foods and drinks from the work cafeteria.
  • Post health information for any company-sponsored dining areas: portion size, calorie count, cholesterol and fiber count
  • Implement new vending machine policies (CA DPH example) and contracts, setting a performance goal for 50% or higher healthy foods and drinks, according to pre-established standards.  Include items that have no more than 35% of calories from fat, 10% of calories from saturated fat, and 35% from sugar.
  • Start a “healthy, homemade lunch club” where people agree to eat together at least one day a week, or a potluck-style meal where every week one member brings food for the whole group.

    lunch club

  • Provide free fruit and veggies weekly through a delivery service.
  • Provide space and materials needed for an on-site staff garden and share the produce with staff.
  • Set up a basket for employees to bring in and share extra fruit and veggies from backyard trees and gardens or supermarket purchases.
  • Be a host site for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm box pick-up point, encouraging (and/or subsidizing) employees to sign up.
  • Host an onsite farmers market if you have a large enough staff to support it. You can work with a farmer or vendor to set up even a once-monthly farmstand.    
  • Hold cooking demonstrations in the cafeteria.
  • Have a cooking-focused nutritionist provide nutrition and healthy cooking classes.
  • Offer one on one consultation with a dietician.
  • Eliminate bagels and cream cheese or donuts from sponsored breakfasts.  Switch to fresh fruit, yogurt, and low-calorie, low-fat baked goods.
  • Offer free, healthy snacks in your break room.
  • Remove the vending machines altogether.
  • Stop using unhealthy sweets as rewards or in celebration of birthdays.  Consider allowing only homemade baked goods, fresh fruit, sparkling water, low-calorie cookies, etc.