Breakfast tips for healthier and more productive employees
Our top tips for encouraging healthy eating in the workplace – starting with the first meal of the day
The word ‘breakfast’ literally means ‘breaking the fast’ as it is meant to replenish energy levels that have drained overnight. Enabling you to start the day fully charged.
Breakfast kick-starts metabolism and provides the nutrients our bodies need to keep us going. Those people who skip breakfast must draw fuel and re-charge from energy reserves. Unfortunately, the stress hormones that are activated leave us feeling irritable, tired and unable to take in information.
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Cheryl Lythgoe the society matron for Benenden Health said of eating breakfast: “Breakfast may not be termed as the most important meal of day anymore. But it does offer us a fabulous opportunity to increase our energy and improve our dietary intake. Historically the domain of either a ‘full English’ or a quick bowl of cereal is out of the window. There are now lots of options which can improve our diet and support our health.”
Eating breakfast also has long term health benefits such as: reducing obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. It can make us happier. It improves mood and lowers stress levels, setting the pattern for nutritious eating throughout the day.
Yet despite the clear benefits of breakfast, the main reason people miss it is due to lack of time in the mornings. So here’s how you can encourage your employees to get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast.
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Breakfast workplace healthy eating initiatives
One of the easiest ways to encourage your employees to eat breakfast is to introduce initiatives that inspire them to act. Here’s a few ideas for initiatives you could put in place:
1. Encourage breakfast meetings
People tend to concentrate better earlier in the day. By offering a nutritious breakfast selection during early morning meetings, you can get people operating at their most productive.
2. Promote team breakfasts
Having breakfast as a team is a great way to bond and if you’re unable to provide breakfast for the entire workforce, you could encourage individual team breakfasts instead. Each person could take it in turns to bring in breakfast (perhaps one day a week) and make it into a competition, with people voting on who provided the best breakfast.
3. Make it easy for them to have breakfast at work
By providing just two things: milk and a microwave, you’ll be doing a lot to encourage employees to eat breakfast. A microwave makes nutritious breakfasts like porridge and scrambled eggs possible in a flash. By providing milk, you’ll make it easy for employees to bring in their own cereal and have a quick and filling breakfast.
4. Start an early morning breakfast club
Offer employees breakfast if they arrive in the office early by introducing an early morning breakfast club. Not only will this provide them with the breakfast they need to start their day but it can also help them avoid the morning rush hour and arrive at work less stressed.
Your employees can also use the extra time to review tasks and make a list of what needs to be done that day, without being bombarded by questions or emails. This can enable them to start their day feeling fully prepared. Alternatively, they can use the time to sit back and read a book or the paper with their breakfast, helping them to feel calm and composed. They could also socialise with colleagues they might not usually interact with which can help to create a friendly, positive working environment.
And it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either. Porridge is a great low-cost option that’ll provide employees with slow-burning energy to keep them going right up until lunch. And you can make it a bit more exciting mixing up traditional oats with quinoa grains or chia seeds and almond milk, and providing a choice of toppings like – fruit, honey or cacao nibs which are all healthy additions.
As well as providing the nutrition they need to start their day effectively, providing employees with a healthy breakfast could help make them feel more valued, which in turn may make them feel happier and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Promoting healthy breakfast in the workplace
If the time isn’t right for you to introduce more initiatives, or you have some in place which aren’t being used, you might want to promote healthy eating in the workplace more. Here are a few ways you can do that:
1. Promote around awareness days
There are several awareness days each year that promote better eating. Utilise Vegetarian Month, Nutrition and Hydration Week, Pancake Day and many more to draw attention to healthy eating tips or healthier alternatives.
2. Engage managers
Your managers are your most important tool if you want to make sure healthy eating is on the rise in your business. Make sure they are full briefed on the importance of the initiative and encourage them to lead by example. If their team members see them eating a healthy breakfast at their desk, they are more likely to do the same.
3. Embed it in your culture
If your vending machines are full of high sugar cereal bars and every Friday is tea and cake day, you’ll have a much more difficult job encouraging employees to eat healthier breakfasts at work. Embedding healthy eating into your workplace culture is one of the most powerful things you can do to ensure it is adopted.