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    Why Nutritional Counseling Should Be Part of Your Corporate Wellness Mix

    As a business leader, you know that your employees are one of your greatest assets. They are typically the ones out in the field or in front of the customer doing the hands-on work that makes it possible for your company to run effectively. So, doesn’t it make sense to ensure that your employees are healthy, happy, and productive?

    An effective workplace wellness program can help businesses of all sizes reduce healthcare costs, increase worker productivity, lead to more successful recruitment and retention efforts, promote employee engagement, and encourage a healthy and positive workplace culture.

    Providing nutritional counseling and fostering a culture of health as part of your corporate wellness program encourages your employees to be fit and eat nutritious foods so that they will not only perform better and call in sick less, but will be healthier people overall. In this blog post, we’ll give you tips on proper nutrition that you can offer your employees through newsletters, internal websites, or emails on healthy eating.

    Nutritional Counseling Adds Value for Businesses

    With nutrition as a priority, employers have been much more active at developing healthier employees who are educated on the best foods to eat for overall health. While this type of program is more qualitative then quantitative, employers are better understanding the intrinsic value of comprehensive wellness programs.

    According to WorkDesign, “Companies that have initiated wellness programs are seeing positive returns. Researchers report, for every dollar spent on employee wellness, medical costs fall $3.27 and absenteeism drops $2.73—a six-to-one return on investment.”

    Related Reading: Improving Your Employees’ Experience Without Breaking the Bank

    Six Tips to Jump-Start Your Nutritional Counseling Efforts

    Arming your employees with the right information about nutrition and wellness means that they will be more equipped to avoid diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable illnesses. Here are six tips to help educate your employees about proper nutrition:

    1. Slow down on the salt.

    Limit the amount of sodium you eat each day. Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure, hypertension, and fluid retention. Foods like bread and rolls, pizza, sandwiches, soups, and tacos can be loaded with a surprising amount of excess sodium:

    2. Get your fats straight.

    The fats you eat can affect your cholesterol levels. Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Try to avoid trans fats, as they can raise bad cholesterol and increase the risk of coronary artery disease. Fish and nuts are a great option, because they contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats to reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re also a great source of protein and have antioxidants to protect the body from free radicals

    3. Step up your fruit and vegetable intake.

    Freshly grown foods like fruits and vegetables offer the nutrients and fibers needed to protect the body from certain cancers and other diseases. The fiber from whole fruits and vegetables help to flush toxins from the body, lower cholesterol, and promote heart health.

    4. Eat responsibly.

    Eat a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins, and fish. Limit sugary drinks and foods, fatty or processed meats, full-fat dairy products, eggs and tropical oils. Understand serving sizes and keep portions reasonable.

    5. Kick carbs to the curb.

    Refined and added sugars really pack on the carbohydrates—and they’re found in a surprising amount of foods, including white bread, soda, candy, donuts, condiment sauces, regular pasta, and many commercially processed foods. They have little dietary fiber or nutrients and are often high in calories.

    According to Healthline, “One of the main drivers of elevated triglycerides in sedentary people is carb consumption–especially the simple sugar fructose. When people cut carbs, they tend to experience a very dramatic reduction in blood triglycerides.”

    6. Have some fun mixing it up.

    Eating a wide variety of foods gives you a chance at fighting off diseases, infections, deficiencies, and imbalances. Try hitting up your local farmers market. With a variety of fruits and veggies to choose from, farmers markets are centered on bringing the community together and can be a fun way to engage in healthy eating.

    Including nutritional counseling in your wellness program doesn’t mean you have to scale back on what you already promote; you can simply supplement your current focus. After all, nutrition goes hand-in-hand with overall wellness, and your employees should be reminded of that fact—even on the job.

    If you want to launch a wellness program or evaluate your existing one, let SWBC’s Employee Benefits Consulting Group give you the expert help you need.

    Learn how to boost employee engagement while minimizing healthcare costs for your organization.

    Roxanne Leal

    Roxanne Leal is the Director of Wellness for SWBC Employee Benefits Group. She specializes in developing strategic wellness programs based on high-cost claims, survey data, and aggregate reports.

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