09 May In Search of WELLness: Serving Sizes
Small changes in the kitchen or break room can encourage your employees to make healthier choices.
It’s so easy to over eat. Modern American food packaging and serving sizes have become far more than what our bodies need, leading many of us to become overweight and unhealthy. In the work environment, desserts in the cafeteria, vending machines, and birthday parties add unnecessary calories to employees’ diets. WELL certification standards have addressed the growing concern of employee obesity.
WELL Standard #47: Serving Sizes addresses meal sizes and outlines set sizes for cups, bowls, and plates that should be available in the workplace. For companies that offer meals to employees, there should be an option to buy an entree that is 650 calories or less and is also less expensive than the regular version. Plates must be no larger than 9.5 inches, bowls no larger than 10 ounces, and cups no larger than 8 ounces. By keeping dinnerware to a reasonable size, employees are less likely to consume larger qualities of food and drink. These small nudges are forms of “choice architecture” to help guide our employees to make the best possible decisions.
In our HQ expansion space, Markon only offers 8-ounce coffee cups and has switched to 8-ounce soda cans. While Coke Zero is the most popular at our office, when individuals do choose a Coca-Cola Classic or a Dr. Pepper they are taking in less than 30 grams of sugar.
The company Precise Portions has taken this a step further and offers dinnerware to organizations that, not only fits WELL Standard 47, but that also suggest how much of your plate should be vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Another good place to start is by addressing vending machines. Companies can choose to offer smaller sizes of sugary beverages and select only healthy options for snacks. Many food manufacturers offer 100-calorie serving packages, “heart healthy” snacks, and 8-ounce soda cans that help cut down on calories.
These solutions can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of employees while being subtle and not heavy handed. Promoting healthy portions in the workplace is a great way to show you care about employee health. Most employees have at least one meal a day at work; make it an opportunity for them to eat right!