Creating a high performing culture is a highly-sought after goal for companies. Companies pay billions of dollars each year for training across an array of topics in hopes of achieving this. However, before anything else, improving workplace culture begins with addressing your employees health habits.

Specifically, their eating habits. While the effects of a poor diet are highly documented as far as its effects on someone's physical appearance and various health biomarkers. What and how your employees eat has direct implications for their productivity and the companies bottom line.

In fact, employees with unhealthy diets were 66 percent more likely to report losses in productivity. The foods your employees eat affect their cognition, energy, and stamina.

With deadlines, random admin fires to put out during the day, and never-ending feelings as if there's not enough time--nutritional choices are made out of convenience.

Improving your employees healthy eating behaviors start with these five actions.

1. Make healthy choices easier by creating a winning environment.

It's difficult to make healthy choices when under pressure and short on time. In that instance, people will grab what's closest around and most convenient. Knowing this, instead of stopping employees from snacking under pressure, place better options in the office that support their well being.

Offer more nutritious options at the vending machine along with supplying ample amounts of fresh fruit. If you have a kitchen, provide equipment for people to prepare and store their own meals along with setting up breakfast bars to encourage employees to start the day with healthier options.

2. Make a commitment to regularly educating your employees.

With nutritional advice spiraling around every corner, it's easy for people to get confused or lost on how to go about living a healthier life.

When establishing a healthier eating culture, educate your workforce through options such as inviting experts to teach on various nutritional subjects. Besides bringing in experts, offer take-home materials of recipes gathered up while providing a list of healthy options available closest to the office.

3. Get creative and unconventional with meetings.

Meetings are synonymous with donuts, pastries, and caffeine. Instead of following the typical mold, use this opportunity while everyone is together to establish a culture of well being by catering healthier alternatives.

Offer fruit platters, various types of nuts, and salads at your normal morning meetings.

And instead of happy hours and work gatherings centering on drinks, look into alternatives such as providing cooking classes that teach employees how to meal prep tasty dishes along with helping them expand their nutritional repertoire.

4. Allocate proper breaks.

Living in a "hustle-centric" society makes people feel guilty for taking downtime. Not feeling as if there isn't enough time leads people too poor nutritional decisions.

One of the easiest ways to improve workplace eating culture is to encourage your employees not to eat at their desks along with giving them breaks throughout the day away from their screens. Emphasize and encourage your staff to take the full length of their designated lunch time which allows them to make better eating decisions.

By doing this, you're encouraging activity along with providing the opportunity to get out of the office to recharge and avoid the mid-afternoon slump.

5. Use challenges and rewards.

We might be adults, but the little kid in all of us never vanishes. One of the best ways to inspire someone into taking action is to provide an incentive and turn it into a game. Start challenges by initially gathering up interest through employee surveys.

Instead of specific weight loss based challenges, promote challenges based on habits and behaviors because that's completely in each employees control while losing a specific amount of weight in a particular time frame isn't.

As you attempt to improve your companies well being culture, aim for incremental changes instead of attempting radical overnight changes.

Published on: Nov 30, 2017