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Why Nutritional Counseling Should be Part of your Corporate Wellness Mix

corporate-wellness-nutrition-counseling-615.jpgIf you've taken the steps to implement a corporate wellness program at your business, you should pat yourself on the back! Way to go! By putting a wellness program in place, you are well on your way to trimming health care costs, increasing productivity and decreasing the absenteeism rate. But, have you weighed the importance of encouraging healthy eating for your employees?

The common components of a successful wellness program include:

  • Health fairs

  • Gym memberships

  • Flu shots and other preventative services

  • Health risk assessments

  • Regular biometric screenings

While many employers are making these more conventional services available for free or at a discount to encourage health and fitness, we are finding that employers are also adding nutrition counseling to their corporate wellness mix. They want to encourage their employees to be fit and eat nutritious foods so that they will not only perform better and call in sick less, but they will be healthier people overall.

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. Further, there is a return on investment for these programs, although they may not be realized immediately. According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, the industry standard for return on invested funds toward these programs is 3-to-1. For every dollar spent, an employer can expect to receive $3 back within three to five years of implementing the program.

By providing nutritional counseling and fostering a culture of health and wellness, your employees are more likely able to avoid diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable illnesses. 

So, how do you jump-start a plan that offers counseling on nutritional foods that benefit the body from the inside out? Below are some nutrition tips from naturalfoodbenefits.com that you can offer our employees through newsletters, internal websites, or emails on healthy eating:

  • Include a variety of foods: Eating a wide variety of foods gives you a chance at fighting off diseases, infections, deficiencies, and imbalances.

  • Don't forget about produce: Farm-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.

  • Get the benefits of whole grains: Whole grain products like bread, pasta, and cereal are loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants, and trace minerals. They're beneficial at staving off Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.

  • Refrain from refined and added sugar: These carbohydrates are found in 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.

  • Increase fish and nuts intake: These foods have a great source of protein and have antioxidants to protect the body from free radicals. They also contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats to reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Choose lean meat over red meat: Lean meats like skinless poultry, turkey, and fish have less fat and promote new muscle mass.

  • Avoid trans-fat: It raises bad cholesterol and increases the risk of coronary artery disease.

  • Decrease sodium intake: Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure, hypertension, and fluid retention.

  • Eat Potassium-rich foods: Foods like citrus fruits, bananas, potatoes, beans, and yogurt are rich in potassium. They lower blood pressure, enhance muscle performance, improve kidney function, and strengthen the bones.

By including nutritional counseling in your wellness program, you don't 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.

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