5 Ways to Feature the Mediterranean Diet in Your Corporate Catering Routine

Posted by on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 with Comments Off on 5 Ways to Feature the Mediterranean Diet in Your Corporate Catering Routine Comments

The Mediterranean diet is in the news all the time — only, unlike some of the other recent diet fads, it’s not due to celebrity endorsements or splashy self-help books. Rather, the Mediterranean diet tends to crop up in news articles and NPR broadcasts because scientists and researchers are continually finding new health benefits to its core tenets: eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and olive oil, along with less meat, butter, and processed foods.

Greek salad with tomatoes

The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes plant-based meals, is proving to be a powerful health strategy.
Image source: flickr user AndyRobertsPhotos

For instance, last November, we learned that women who generally followed a Mediterranean diet in their fifties were 40 percent less likely to develop chronic diseases, like Parkinson’s and cancer, later in life, and had better memory and physical function than women who didn’t eat as healthfully. So far this month, two different reports show that following the Mediterranean diet can lead to reduced risk of plaque buildup in our arteries and even reduce our risk for Type 2 diabetes.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Mediterranean diet may be a very smart strategy to counter the ongoing obesity crisis and skyrocketing occurrence of chronic diseases that are driving health care costs out of control. Employers who are seeking ways to promote employee health and wellness — and reducing their own health care costs at the same time — would be smart to consider how they can promote a Mediterranean diet within the walls of the workplace. And since it’s hard to encourage employees to eat more fresh vegetables and fish while simultaneously stocking the vending machine with Cheetos and ordering double-pepperoni pies every Friday, here are a few ways to feature the Mediterranean diet in your corporate catering routine:

vending machine healthy label

Help employees choose healthier foods at the vending machines.
Image source: flickr user JasonTester

Office vending machines and snack drawers are notoriously stuffed with potato chips, packaged cupcakes, and all of the highly processed junk foods that nutrition experts advise we should rarely, if ever, eat… and certainly not try to make a meal out of during busy workdays when we need sustainable, wholesome energy the most. When it comes to easy-to-access snack foods, take a cue from the Mediterranean diet and supply packages of lightly salted nuts, fresh or dried fruit, and whole grain crackers.

If you occasionally order in lunch for your staff as a special thank-you or celebration, don’t simply default to pizza delivery or greasy takeout boxes. Consider healthier takeout options like sushi, which is a great source of fresh fish and can be made with fiber-rich brown rice, or Indian cuisine, which is usually based around vegetables, lentils, and chickpeas instead of meat and white bread.

salmon and asparagus

Use the catering table to introduce employees to healthy meals like salmon and asparagus.
Image source: flickr user WordRidden

Treating your staff to fully catered meals is an excellent way to introduce Mediterranean diet-friendly foods into the office. Just choose salmon instead of beef or pork for an entree dish, and swap out the mac and cheese or mayo-heavy pasta salad in favor of a whole grain version, like tabbouleh or a quinoa salad. Be sure to include a few vegetable side dishes, like asparagus drizzled with olive oil or roasted root vegetables. Potatoes, America’s favorite vegetable, aren’t really included in the Mediterranean diet.

Most importantly, don’t just start serving different, healthier foods without telling your employees why! Make the Mediterranean diet’s potential an ongoing conversation, and create a positive environment that supports healthy lifestyle changes. Schedule a chef to come in and conduct a healthy cooking class one afternoon, or have a nutritionist present at a lunch-and-learn. And when it’s time to order office meals, Waiter.com can help your office break out of unhealthy eating habits by presenting a wide variety of wholesome, Mediterranean-friendly meals.

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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