If you work, more than likely, you’re eating at work. Americans work–a lot! According to the Huffington Post, we work an average of 200 more hours per year than we did just back in the 70’s. So, if you’re one of the millions eating at your desk several days a week, we have to ask: What are you eating? Are you running to the vending machine for something fast, packing healthy from home, frequenting your workplace cafeteria, or running out to grab something quick, then dashing back to your cubby? What we want to know is this: How’s this eating at work working out for you?
Even if your employer has the funds to provide food for workers, there seems to be a fine line to walk between what employees say they want to eat and what they actually eat, but if an employer decides to commit to a healthy eating environment in an effort to control healthcare costs (medical expenses for obese employees cost employers anywhere from $450 to $2500 dollars more per year in medical expenses and absences), they usually do see a return on their investment (an average of $3.27 in medical expenses for every dollar spent). But what do you do if your company can’t afford this sort of food program? Get creative!
Here are a few ideas:
1. Have a farmer’s market on-site. You can’t have it every day, of course, but you could have it once a week and stock up on your fresh fruits and veggies, locally raised meats, fresh breads, etc. With all of the healthy foods you buy, you could prepare some meals to individually package and bring to work with you. We guarantee you, you’d attract the attention of the whole neighborhood and make it worth the while of your local farmers to set up shop with you.
2. Have your company sponsor some cooking lessons. There are all sorts of local places that will organize a fun evening for coworkers to get together, have a little wine, enjoy each other’s company and learn a few things about cooking healthy. When people begin to make healthier choices in regard to food, they lose weight and become healthier (and their medical bills may just show a corresponding decrease).
3. How about healthy vending machines, like LeanMachine, Farmer’s Fridge, VendScreen? Sometimes going healthy can mean spending a few extra dollars, but if your company can’t afford to go whole hog (excuse the pun), perhaps they’d consider subsidizing the cost of healthier vending machine products and make it more manageable and attractive for workers to purchase healthy food.
4. Most companies cater, right? They have big meetings, conferences, etc. This is the perfect time to serve up something healthy for employees! Order fruit and veggie trays, but even better, choose a vendor who specializes in fresh, natural ingredients with a variety of menu items. Hot and cold food options are always good, too! In case you’re wondering, yes, we did just describe ourselves, but catering for businesses is something we love to do (and it’s an easy way for businesses to show their employees that they care about what they eat; to set a good example, even). We feed people healthy food fast one by one every day (you can call your order in or order online and we’ll have it waiting when you get here, too!), and we love knowing that we got them back to their desks as quickly as possible–no fuss, no muss–with a breakfast or lunch that they can feel good about. But we also love knowing that we fed healthy, delicious food to a whole roomful of people because we love to spread the word that healthy means anything but tasteless. Brown Bag is all about cuisine on the fly; we give you something you can’t get most places–wholesome food fast.
So, if you can’t a healthy lunch where you work, you can bring it from home or you can come to us (or have us cater your corporate events). In the meantime, how about advocating in your workplace for healthier vending machines or a farmer’s market? What other ways would you like to change the food culture at your job?