2015 Dietary Guidelines: Three Simple Steps to a Healthier Workplace

The federal government recently released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines which influence nutrition recommendations for home, school, work and local communities. Two notable changes were the recommendations to limit added sugars to less than 10% of calories per day and to limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. According to the report, 90% of Americans eat too much salt, and sugary drinks comprise 47% of the added sugars that Americans consume every day.

The good news is that following these recommendations is easier than you might think, and the changes you make will enhance your employee health and wellness program. Here are three simple steps to encourage healthier eating patterns at work that support the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommendations:

  1. Provide an Alternative to Sugary Drinks — Add water stations infused with fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables, as a simple, thirst quenching alternative to processed, sugar-laden beverages.  There are literally dozens of delicious combinations – ranging from cantaloupe cinnamon stick and lemon blueberry to watermelon grape and pomegranate mint. As the flavors change daily, you’ll find yourself eagerly reaching for more.
  2. Avoid Processed Foods by Cooking from Scratch – The nutrition guidelines draw attention to the significant added sugar and high sodium found in many canned sauces and soups. Avoid this nutrition pitfall by implementing a scratch cooking dining program with fresh ingredients instead of relying on “can to pan” style processed foods. Scratch cooking allows controlled, reasonable use of spices and flavorings for homemade entrees, soups, sauces and salad dressings.
  3. Roast Your Meats In-House – Sandwiches are the most popular lunchtime selection and, sadly, even the best names in deli meat contain high levels of sodium. It’s actually simple and cost effective for a foodservice provider to roast turkey, beef and chicken in-house and slice it. The sandwiches taste better and the kitchen can use the meat bones and trimmings for homemade soup.

A quick look in your workplace café freezer and store room often provides the best indication of whether the operation is committed to the overarching Nutrition Guidelines recommendations, which focus on a general shift to healthier eating patterns, including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Here is a checklist you can use to inspect your storage room, refrigerator and freezer.

Fresh Food Checklist

Unidine minimizes the use of anything processed or loaded with preservatives and was named to the 2016 Rodale 100 as a company that is changing the face of health and wellness.

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