How Does Nutrition Affect the Mental Health of Employees?

Maintaining good mental health is crucial for any employee’s well-being in the workplace, and nutrition is imperative in achieving this. According to Forbes, the workplace can be a significant obstacle to intentional eating due to stress and unpredictable schedules. However, what employees eat affects their physical health, cognitive functioning, mood regulation, and productivity. As a result, employees must eat well throughout the day to keep up with their daily work tasks while remaining productive and maintaining their health. Many employers have recognized this and are implementing wellness programs to help employees stay healthy and informed about proper nutrition. Concerning employees’ mental health in the workplace, it is essential to understand the connection between nutrition and mental health and find ways to improve nutrition.

What is the Link Between Nutrition and Mental Health?

Nutrition is closely linked to one’s overall health, including mental health. To perform work tasks at full capability, a person must have the essential nutrients to maintain physical and psychological health, and some vital nutrients a person needs include B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, and zinc. All of these play a role in mood regulation, cognitive function, memory, or concentration, which are all needed to have a successful, productive workday. Workers can attain most of them through eating healthy foods, but lacking some critical nutrients can lead to fatigue, decreased cognitive performance, and even negative moods. Over time, this can lead to more issues with mental health, which can affect other aspects of an employee’s health.

How to Improve Nutrition in the Workplace

Because proper nutrition is related to mental health and necessary to stay healthy, improving employees’ nutrition is a beneficial and essential step in improving the workplace. Brigham Young University states, “Eating unhealthily is linked to a 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity.” To prevent a loss of productivity, employees must eat sustaining, nourishing food that will help them throughout the workday. While it is up to individual employees to follow through with improving their nutritional intake through the resources provided to them, there are steps that employers can take to improve nutrition in the workplace and help their employees become healthier.

Customized Meal Plans

In today’s fast-paced work environments, many employees opt for quick and affordable lunch options, which may not always be the healthiest. However, a growing number of organizations are now prioritizing the health and well-being of their employees by introducing personalized meal plans. These plans are tailored to each employee’s unique dietary requirements, preferences, and health objectives, ensuring they can access healthy and nutritious food that suits their needs. By implementing these personalized meal plans, workplaces can help improve their staff’s overall physical and mental health, resulting in a happier and more productive workforce.

On-Site Cooking Classes and Demonstrations 

With a wellness plan that includes qualified nutrition professionals, employees can learn about healthy meals and snacks and how to make them! The nutrition professionals would take them step-by-step into preparing these nutritious meals, making it easier for employees to practice making them at home, too. Having cooking classes and demonstrations on-site also makes it more convenient for employees to attend and discuss better nutritional options with each other. 

Nutritional Counseling and Support

For many employees, nutritional counseling and support can be a beneficial addition to any wellness plan. Whether it is one-on-one counseling or as a group, experts can assist employees with advice on how to better their nutritional intake while offering support on their health journey. According to the CDC, poor nutrition is among the top four health risk behaviors leading to chronic disease and obesity. However, making better nutritional choices through counseling and support can lead many employees to better health overall.

Food Tracking Tools and Resources 

Providing nutritional tools and resources to your employees allows them to take responsibility for their healthy habits while further developing them. Through BioFunctional Health Solutions, our fitness and nutrition plan helps employees meet their needs and goals when it comes to their health through nutrition and activity plans.

Measuring the Success of the Nutrition Program

While making these changes in the workplace to improve nutrition, it is critical to take data, get feedback from employees, and seek improvement. Taking note of how many employees are participating in the program will directly relate to the health-related outcomes of it. Employees who are trying the program can give genuine feedback, which can help employers see which areas are working or which need improvement.

Nutrition directly affects the mental health of all employees, which can affect their moods, work environment, and productivity. However, by taking these steps in the workplace, you can ensure a healthier work environment that improves its employees’ mental and physical health. If you are ready to take the next step and get more information about our fitness and nutrition plan, contact us here at BioFunctional Health Solutions, and we will be happy to help!