The start of each year is a great time to reflect on the past year and to set new intentions for the next, and of course it’s the most popular time to make resolutions. Oftentimes, these resolutions are health-related and typically involve making drastic changes to our food and nutrition habits.
Did you or any of your employees set a new year’s resolution related to nutrition? It’s not uncommon to hear broad statements such as “I’m trying to eat better” or even more specific terms such as “keto diet” or “Whole30” floating around the workplace in January. But now that we’re almost done with February, are you still hearing the same buzz around healthier eating habits? How many of us are still working toward those ambitious goals we set for ourselves on January 1st?
It’s estimated that only 10% of new year’s resolutions are achieved every year. There are many reasons why we might fail to keep our resolutions, especially when they relate to nutrition. Some culprits might include:
- Focusing too much on the overall goal, and not on the steps it will take to achieve the goal. Instead of making a resolution to “eat a healthier diet,” set small, achievable goals. For example, aim to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Setting resolutions that are too ambitious. Diets that set hard-and-fast rules around certain foods and food groups tend to be difficult to follow and easy to give up on. Avoid extreme diets to create long-term habits and results.
- Not planning for when the going gets tough. The new year can be a motivating time, and we tend to prioritize our goals when we feel like we should be making healthy changes. These get harder to follow as our normal daily life resumes. Try to anticipate the challenges you’ll face when working toward your goals and think through solutions ahead of time. For instance, have a go-to healthy meal at a local restaurant for when you don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch.
If your employees have a goal of making improvements to their health through nutrition, there are many ways a workplace can support these intentions year-round.
As a company, you can support ongoing efforts by:
- Making healthy snacks and drinks available in your company kitchen. Make the healthy choice the easy choice by offering fresh fruit, mixed nuts, yogurt or other healthy options.
- Choosing healthier options for lunches. If pizza and fast food are staples at company lunches, try ordering healthier options for employees. Look for salads and healthy sandwich and wrap options. Try to include fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grain and lean protein options (chicken, tuna, turkey, etc.). Local Mediterranean restaurants are a good place to start, as well as restaurants and catering services that offer “build your own” salads, sandwiches, or bowls.
- Organizing nutrition-related company wellness challenges. While a walking challenge may be one of the more popular workplace wellness activities, nutrition-related challenges are gaining traction. When designing a nutrition challenge, remember to task your employees with small, achievable and sustainable actions. For example, challenge employees to drink six to eight glasses of water each day for a 30-day period.
Keep in mind that although it can help to capitalize on the hype of the start of a new year, it’s important to help employees create sustainable habits that they can maintain year-round. Think about the culture of your workplace and the ways that you can support your employees’ nutrition goals on a day-to-day basis. To learn more, contact our wellness team.