Pass the Hummus: How Mediterranean-Inspired Office Meals Can Make Your Employees Happier

Posted by on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 with Comments Off on Pass the Hummus: How Mediterranean-Inspired Office Meals Can Make Your Employees Happier Comments

We’ve been hearing rave reviews of the Mediterranean diet for several years now. Maintaining a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and olive oil (along with the occasional serving of fish, yogurt, and other dairy product) has been linked to a wealth of health benefits. Mediterranean dieters can boast a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Their cholesterol tends to be lower, along with their blood pressure, and they’re less likely to be overweight.

greek salad

This plate may be a key to improving happiness.
Image source: Flickr user ozmafan

Now, however, a new benefit is being touted: people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet may be happier as well as healthier… which means, as an employer, it’s just smart business to focus your corporate catering routine on Mediterranean-inspired office meals. Including nutrition education and cooking classes in the employee wellness program couldn’t hurt, either. Happy employees make for more productive employees, and a growing body of research shows that our diets may have a much larger impact on our mood and well-being than we’ve previously considered.

In a massive study from the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, it was discovered that people eating fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and nuts — the foundation of a Mediterranean diet — were more likely to experience positive emotions like enthusiasm, pride, inspiration, and excitement. Those who ate the standard American fare of red meats, fast food, and sugar-laden treats more often reported feeling irritable, upset, distressed, and nervous… i.e., unhappy.

cooking class with business professionals

In-office cooking classes can help promote a healthy, happy diet.
Image source: Flickr user EG Focus

In the typical office environment, this is particularly bad news, because we tend to turn to unhealthy “comfort” food during times of stress or anxiety. Struggling to meet a deadline? Grab some chips and a Coke from the vending machine for lunch, because there’s no time for anything else. Depressed after hearing bad news from the boss? Maybe sneaking a few cookies from the box in the break room will make you feel better. Even on positive occasions, like meeting a big goal, the office tends to celebrate with the kind of food linked with negative moods: pizza for lunch, doughnuts in the morning, a trip to the local pub for beer and nachos after work. And while occasional treats are fine, of course, the sad fact remains that many of our office eating habits are being linked to lower levels of happiness.

Greek salad

Choosing healthy, Mediterranean-inspired office meals can lead to a happier workforce.
Image source: Flickr user MonaLMtz

It’s in everyone’s best interest — employer and employee — to cultivate a healthy, positive, happy environment in the workplace… and the Mediterranean diet can be a big part of that plan! One easy way to encourage the adoption of this plant-heavy diet is to host a lunch and learn, and share the findings regarding health, happiness, and the Mediterranean diet. Order in a fresh, delicious, Mediterranean-inspired spread like tabbouleh, grilled salmon, hummus, and plenty of fresh vegetables. Enjoying a healthy, tasty lunch while learning about all the benefits of eating these foods could be an inspirational experience for employees who want to make positive changes in their life.

nutrition seminar

Nutrition education and lunch & learns can help promote healthy eating.
Image source: Flickr user Our City Forest

Another way to promote Mediterranean-inspired dining is to host a cooking class, and have a local chef share recipes for simple, healthy meals. Even simply revamping office meals to be more Mediterranean-friendly — for instance, participating in Meatless Monday by hosting a weekly vegetarian lunch, or spreading out sliced veggies and hummus at an afternoon meeting instead of chips and dip — can help promote a healthy work environment. And when you need wholesome, delicious meals for your team, makes it easy to order for a group, so you can spend your time on what really matters… your employees.

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 — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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