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July 18, 2016 / Amy Height

How to Start a Healthy Eating Challenge at Work

Southwestern squash salad

Healthy eating can be infinitely harder when the people around you aren’t in a similar mindset. It’s much harder to say no to the cookies in the kitchen – even if you don’t really want them – when everyone around you is partaking.

So if you're on a mission to get healthier, enlist your co-workers to join you! Starting a healthy eating challenge at work means you’ll all benefit from the support and camaraderie; plus, health-promoting workplaces have been shown to increase employee happiness and productivity, so you'll be healthier and happier.

Here are some tips to get started on your healthy eating challenge:

Set a Timeline

As with any new habit, having a clear picture of the timeline can help to frame expectations and progress. Be specific: Will this last two weeks? A month? All of Q3? Having everyone on board with the timeline allows for the creation of realistic goals and outcomes.

Create an Incentive

It’s also important to have something to incentivize participants (in addition, of course, to the obvious benefits of great eating!). Issue points for each successful day or action, or offer raffle tickets for each completion. You might choose to offer prizes for the most points over the course of the challenge or do a drawing at the end, raffling off tickets to sports games, gym passes, cookbooks, a night on the town, an extra vacation day or gift cards.

Pick a Defined Goal

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

7-Day Clean Eating Challenge

Participants commit to eschewing processed carbs, sugar, meat, dairy or another mutually-agreeable food group for a given period of time. Asking everyone to log and share their meals - either in a public space in the office or an online forum - can be a great way to keep everyone accountable and share recipe and meal ideas throughout the team. PlateJoy shows you the nutritional information for each of your meals and snacks, making it easy to log your info, or sync with your wearable fitness tracker.

Shake Up the Snacks

Collectively decide that office snacks will be homemade, not processed, and have everyone take control of a day. To include everyone’s dietary preferences, create a snack suggestion box. For added competitive fun, submit your votes for best snack, most creative snack and most unusual snack.

Bring-Your-Lunch Club

Encourage your team to skip takeout by enlisting participation in a bring-your-lunch-from-home club. Issue points for each day folks bring something homemade rather than buying lunch out and encourage everyone to dine together. Bonus points for whoever brings the most colorful meals or the widest variety of produce.

Amy Height
Holistic Nutritionist @ From the Ground Up Wellness

Amy Height is the founder of From the Ground Up Wellness, a holistic nutrition practice where she specializes in plant-based nutrition and helping her clients combat food addiction. She completed her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she received her certification in the Health Coach Training Program. She is a triathlete and CrossFitter with a passion for all things outdoors. By night, Amy stage manages Broadway musicals and she frequently travels North America seeking out the best vegan restaurants and the best run courses. Follow her on Instagram or check out her blog for recipe and wellness ideas.

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