We all know grabbing food on the run and healthy eating usually don’t go hand in hand. Corporate America has stepped in to help employees with this dilemma by offering in-house dining options for breakfast and lunch. Their employees stay on campus, relax a few minutes and get better meals. That’s nice of the employer, but the payoff is nice as well. Employers have seen proper food programs have a positive impact on productivity, attendance and overall well-being of its employee base.
But how do you know what to offer? That’s a question that we at Food Innovation Factory like to help you answer. Our commitment is to help corporate clients provide healthy options for their employees and we do this by aligning our standards with the Harvard School of Public Health’s guides, such as the Healthy Eating Plate. Thinking of a plate of food — and what should go on it — is a fairly easy exercise for most of us, since that’s how we generally take in our food, a plate at a time. Once you begin offering good options on your campus, you’ll help your employees get on the road to a better and healthier lifestyle.
So what can you offer for a healthy plate? Since half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, fresh produce is a plus. Salads and whole fruits work well on cold plates. Steamed vegetables — the more color the better — work wonderfully on hot plates. Of course, potatoes and fries don’t count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate, as they are high in fast-digested starchy carbohydrates, just like white bread and sweets.
A quarter of the plate can be used for whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice and foods made with them: whole wheat bread for a cold plate and brown rice or whole wheat pasta for a hot plate. The other quarter of the plate is for healthy protein choices like fish, chicken, beans or nuts. Of course, red meat is allowed, but in limited quantities, and the same goes for processed meats like bacon and cold cuts.
Healthy plant oils (like olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower and peanut) should be used in cooking and on salads. Drink options should include water, coffee and tea, with dairy and milk products limited to one or two servings a day.
It’s a lot to think about, especially if you haven’t thought of such offerings before. Food Innovation Factory has not only thought of these types of options, we’ve set up corporate dining arrangements from the initial planning to the first food service. And we’ve kept it healthy. We think our clients have appreciated it. We know your employees will.