Written by Toni Sperlbaum
Wellness programs and their education components are often built on two primary staples: diet and exercise. Exercise is relatively easy to program (and easy to understand from an employee’s perspective). But when it comes to nutrition, there is an incredible amount of conflict even within the professional world of physicians, scientists, dietitians, and experts, it’s no wonder the “normal person” is confused and that the national obesity rate is rising above and beyond 35% in the United States.
March is National Nutrition Month. It’s the perfect time to hone in on these programs and hear from the experts (us!) on delivering effective and affordable nutrition programs to reach members. Especially when weight loss is 80% proper nutrition and only 20% physical activity, it’s an imperative focus for an employer and should be a part of your wellness programming.
Here are our top 5 most popular nutrition programs:
Educational Seminars – a fan favorite of our clients is “Mythbusting: Nutrition Edition” and “Healthy Cooking Live Demo”. Provide a month-long challenge after the class in order to put to practice the different topics discussed in the class. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
MENTAL HEALTH! – Not always an obvious thought, but in our experience, most of our members’ struggle with their food intake directly relates to stress, time management, work-life balance, and financial restrictions. Designing programs that can pinpoint THESE issues will have a direct correlation to nutrition.
Challenge – Seems obvious, as wellness programs LOVE challenges. But it is for good reason, as challenges both involve employees and promote friendly workplace competition that truly is a drive for some members. A good challenge will encourage employees to meet their goals, not “be the MOST healthy”. It will also reward goal meeting each week and will have a different focus area each week (count your calories, eat foods with 5 or less ingredients or that you can pronounce, track your fiber grams, eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, etc.).
Web Portal – Trackers, social accountability aspect – We’ve seen the power of the digital world through the rise of Social Media. Using a web portal where employees can keep a food diary, share with a coach, and share their favorite recipes, exercise progress, funny and encouraging memes, and more on a social network within the portal.
1-on-1 Coaching – Speaking of coaching, the most tailored, effective programming you can do is provide your members the opportunity to talk to someone who will provide them with the accountability, the encouragement, and proper guidance to successful goal setting.