Can Your Company Catering Create Happier Employees? How Food Affects Our Mood

Posted by on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 with Comments Off on Can Your Company Catering Create Happier Employees? How Food Affects Our Mood Comments

Imagine this scenario: You were late to the office, and were on the receiving end of some “constructive criticism” at a morning meeting. You skipped lunch to meet a deadline, and by 3 pm, you’re starving and stressed. And, if you’re like most people, you aren’t thinking about how refreshing and nourishing a nice salad sounds — you’re making a beeline for the vending machine, and ravenously trading your quarters for your favorite plastic package of chocolate-chip cookies or salty potato chips.

man with cheeseburger cut in half

Emotional eating involves more than sadness & ice cream!
Image source: Flickr user Joelk75

We all know that how we feel and what we eat are intertwined. Our collective image of emotional eating usually involves a crying person and a tub of ice cream; it’s news to no one that we tend to reach for “comfort foods” — ones that reward our sugar, fat, and salt cravings — when we’re upset. But, in truth, the interplay of foods and moods is a little more complicated than a breakup and Ben & Jerry’s. Examining a few recent studies can shed some light on how the workplace can influence our dining choices — in some cases, for the better. Whether you spend your days in a cubicle or a corner office, it’s worth paying attention to the science behind our moods and our foods: what we eat can have a drastic impact on our performance in the workplace, and these studies should probably be influencing your company catering plan. Read the full article…

4 Sandwich Shop Secrets That Could Undermine Your Healthy Office Lunch

Posted by on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 with Comments Off on 4 Sandwich Shop Secrets That Could Undermine Your Healthy Office Lunch Comments

Between the infamous Subway Jared, Panera Bread’s not-so-secret “power menu”, and advertisements practically glistening with fresh vegetables, lean turkey, and whole wheat bread, it seems like your average sandwich shop is an easy place to grab a healthy lunch. And it should be — but, as with any restaurant, there are some land mines that people should watch out for.

chicken salad sandwich

It’s easy to eat healthy at a deli… right?
Image source: Flickr user stevendepolo

After all, eating a healthy lunch isn’t just about watching your waistline. The food you consume on your lunch break — especially if, like many American office workers, you eat at your desk — can dictate how you’ll feel the rest of the day. Will your energy levels crash around 3 pm, or will you feel focused and have a productive afternoon? A lot of that depends on whether you eat a healthy office lunch!

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Employee Appreciation to Wellness: How 4 Companies Won Awards for Psychological Health

Posted by on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 with Comments Off on Employee Appreciation to Wellness: How 4 Companies Won Awards for Psychological Health Comments

Last weekend in Washington D.C., the American Psychological Association recognized the recipients of its ninth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. The APA, the nation’s leading psychological professional organization, defines a psychologically healthy workplace as one that “…fosters employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance and productivity.”

employee meal at large table

Office celebrations and employee recognition are key to a psychologically healthy workplace.
Image source: Flickr user CPXi

Large or small, every company can work to promote the health and well-being of their employees — and they should! Research has shown that healthy, happy employees are more productive, and cost employers less when it comes to missed work and health care.

The APA’s awards are based on five categories: employee involvement, work-life balance, health & safety, employee growth & development, and employee recognition. Get a jump-start on your company’s psychological health by learning a few lessons from this year’s honorees:

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Our Mental Health & Workplace Productivity: Pay Attention to New Survey on Nutrition

Posted by on Monday, March 10th, 2014 with 1 Comments

Every year, Gallup conducts an extensive phone survey that essentially takes a snapshot of American eating habits. The 2013 edition of the survey was released last week, and the news isn’t good: fewer of us reported eating healthy all day “yesterday” than we have in the last five years. And only a little over half — around 57% — reported that within the last week, they ate the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (five servings per day) for at least four days.

fruit and vegetable catering display

For productive employees, more office lunch rooms should look like this!
Image source: Flickr user ChampionshipCatering

We tend to focus on our physical health when we consider these kind of statistics. And it’s clear that our collectively inadequate diet has consequences: not coincidentally, another report from the end of February shows that obesity rates rose to a new high (or should we say low?) of 27.1% last year. However, our waistlines aren’t the only things that suffer when we don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, or the other mainstays of a healthy diet, like quality proteins and whole grains. Our mental health is also impacted by our diets — and for employers, that means your workplace productivity.

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Meatless Monday: Integrate this Popular Health Trend into Your Corporate Catering Plan

Posted by on Friday, March 7th, 2014 with Comments Off on Meatless Monday: Integrate this Popular Health Trend into Your Corporate Catering Plan Comments

270 pounds: that’s the size of your typical refrigerator, or a North American black bear. It’s also how much meat the average American eats per year, and equates to around three-quarters of a pound of meat per day.

Meatless Monday sign

Meatless Monday is sweeping the nation – is your office next in line?
Image source: Flickr User Allio

And with study after study suggesting that a diet lower in meat and higher in plant-based foods can lead to longer life, lower blood pressure, and a smaller environmental impact, many offices, schools, and restaurants across the country are making an effort to reduce meat consumption. You’ve probably heard of one particularly specific and successful campaign: Meatless Mondays.

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Employee Appreciation Day: Why It’s Important to Recognize Staff Efforts

Posted by on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 with 2 Comments

Consider this your last-minute warning: tomorrow is Employee Appreciation Day.

Wait — don’t groan about yet another Hallmark-sponsored obligation! While we do live in a culture that’s oversaturated with holidays — today, for instance, happens to be National Frozen Food Day — employers would be ill-advised to dismiss Employee Appreciation Day. The concept behind the holiday is certainly far from meaningless (no offense to frozen foods): recognizing the contributions of employees is a valuable action, not to mention mutually beneficial.

thank you cupcakes

Find a creative way to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day at the office.
Image source: Flickr User clevercupcakes

Late last year, a survey conducted by online career site Glassdoor revealed that employees who work for appreciative bosses are more likely to work harder and stay with their current companies longer. Showing appreciation not only creates good vibes in the office, it actually makes a difference in employees’ work habits and long-term career decisions.

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Just Say No to Spicy Tuna Rolls: 6 Tips for a Healthy Office Lunch, Sushi-Style

Posted by on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 with 1 Comments

Eating healthy at the office can be notoriously difficult, especially when coworkers team up to order from a takeout place. Most dieters breathe a sigh of relief, however, when we hear that the sushi place is the delivery pick of the day. Fish, vegetables, rice — sushi’s totally healthy. Right?

takeout sushi with miso soup

Miso soup helps make a healthy sushi lunch.
Image source: Flickr user Marisa | Food in Jars

Not so fast. Traditional sushi fare, like sashimi (just super-fresh fish), and nigiri (a small mound of rice topped with a slice of fish), are simple, fresh, and usually quite high in protein and low in calories. However, when you start ordering some Americanized rolls, stuffed with cream cheese and topped with heavy mayo-based sauces, you also start loading on saturated fats and calories.

You don’t need to stick to plain fish and rice to make a healthy office lunch, though, if that doesn’t sound appealing. Most sushi menus are full of smart choices — all it takes is a little planning and, frankly, some common sense. Here’s what to keep in mind as you plan your meal:

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For a Healthy Office, Read the Label: Vitamin D Boosts Employee Productivity

Posted by on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 with Comments Off on For a Healthy Office, Read the Label: Vitamin D Boosts Employee Productivity Comments

Employers who care about workplace wellness, employee satisfaction, or just plain old attendance rates should take note: the FDA is updating its nutrition labels, and making room for some new featured nutrients. Your office lunches and catering plan should be prepared to follow suit.

new nutrition labels

The newly proposed nutrition label (left) includes vitamin D and potassium instead of vitamins A and C.
Image source:

Late last week, Michelle Obama announced the FDA’s proposal for changes to nutrition labels on food packaging. For the first time in 20 years, the ubiquitous label is getting a face-lift. There’s a larger emphasis on calories, accurate serving sizes, and added sugars… as well as two new players in the “good-for-you” nutrients section: potassium and vitamin D.

On the labels, these two nutrients bump off two star players in the vitamin game: vitamin C and vitamin A. Why? Essentially, according to the FDA, because few Americans consume enough potassium and vitamin D, while the more prevalent (and popular) vitamin C and A aren’t as much of a concern.

This is where employers should start paying attention. This shift matters to you. Research has shown in the past that proper nutrition makes a difference in energy levels and productivity at the workplace, and there’s very good reason to think that vitamin D may be key to healthier, happier employees.

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Build Buzz, Bring the Beads: 6 Ideas for a Fat Tuesday Office Party

Posted by on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 with Comments Off on Build Buzz, Bring the Beads: 6 Ideas for a Fat Tuesday Office Party Comments

Unexpected office parties have a wealth of benefits: they can boost morale, encourage social bonding, and deliver a spontaneous message of employee appreciation. If your workplace could use a dose of fun and festivity in the waning days of winter, tomorrow marks a perfect opportunity… Fat Tuesday!

Mardi Gras beads on computer monitor

Add a little pizzazz to the office with a Fat Tuesday party!
Image Source: Flickr User CallMeJag

Although Fat Tuesday is traditionally associated with religious observances — a day of feasting before the forty-day fasting period of Lent, leading up to Easter — it’s become a culturally beloved day of celebration, especially in New Orleans. Embrace the spirit of Mardi Gras and invite your employees to indulge in a little feasting at the office… it may be just the jolt your workplace needs.

Naturally, a Fat Tuesday office party will be a little tamer than the celebrations on Bourbon Street, but the important thing is to emphasize the theme of a little indulgence. Consider it a day to honor guilty pleasures, but without the guilt! Just don’t forget to provide some plastic beads, glittery masks, and a fun-loving spirit to liven up the office for the day.

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Sweet Pickings: The 6 Best Fruits for Office Snacks

Posted by on Friday, February 28th, 2014 with 2 Comments

Fruit may be the ideal snack for the workplace. It’s healthy, portable, and sweet. Unfortunately, that last reason is precisely why some dieters have given fruit a bad rap. It’s naturally sweet, because it contains sugar, and sugar is bad for you; therefore, fruit isn’t a healthy office snack.

Let’s be clear, though: the sugar in a cup of strawberries and the sugar in a cup of strawberry ice cream are not equal, either in quantity or quality. The majority of the sugar in fruit is fructose, whereas most processed sweet snacks (and a host of other processed foods) contains sugars that quickly break down into glucose. Glucose is the kind of sugar that triggers a release of insulin, which leads to the spike-and-crash of blood sugar levels and, thus, energy.

girl working with a bowl of fruit

Fruit is the perfect office snack for all-day energy.
Image source: Flickr User jessica mullen

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