A new CDC study shows nearly a quarter of employed adults get foods and drinks at work at least once a week – mostly – items high in calories, added sugars, and sodium.
With an unpredictable schedule, no one knows that better than Dr. Johnathan Goree.
“And, so, a lot of times I’ve been forced to eat really salty vending machine food or really greasy late-night food,” Dr. Goree said.
The CDC says most foods eaten at work do not align well with the dietary guidelines for Americans – leading to more obese workers. Dr. Goree says he was one of them.
“Part of that is because sometimes hospitals that I’ve worked at have really unhealthy food, and for the past three years I’ve really tried to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, a lot more lean protein,” he said.
At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Hospital, dieticians have led an effort to offer healthier options to employees.
Dietician Tonya Johnson says offering less fried foods and more plant-based meals are not only reducing absenteeism, but also healthcare costs.
“Exercise and nutrition are key to healthy employees,” Johnson said.
While not all companies can offer a full-service cafeteria. Every business can make healthy eating easier.
“If your company does have a vending machine – your company can partner with that vending company so that they can have healthy food items available,” Johnson said.
She adds that new technology is making healthy options more readily accessible to companies.
Johnson says their health initiative has increased employee morale, energy, and gratitude.
“Without good employees that come to work, you’re not going to have a good overall atmosphere at your facility,” she said.
“The best thing that a company can do is really invest in their employees and make sure they have healthy options and the ability to work out and take care of their bodies,” Dr. Goree added.