Our environment has an impact on the foods that we eat. When planning foods for a meeting or workplace celebration, it is important to provide nutritious options to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that all foods can fit within a healthy diet when consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.
Food at work can also fit within this pattern. There are always healthy options that can support long-term well-being. Focusing on variety, moderation, and an overall healthy lifestyle can be part of building a culture of health at work.
Remember healthy foods at work can be delicious! Use this guide when ordering or otherwise providing food for your department meetings or celebrations.
These tips can help to make it fun and easy to plan a healthy menu:
- Make water the default beverage. Consider fruit-infused water or seltzer water for flavor.
- Offer at least one fruit and/or vegetable option. Grapes, orange slices, banana, vegetable tray, salad, roasted vegetables.
- Choose low-sodium foods. Look at nutrition information if available (5% Daily Value, or 120mg or less of sodium per serving, is considered low). Opt for fresh foods, which are generally lower in sodium.
- Purchase fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Examples include: part skim cheese, fat-free low-sugar yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, fat-free frozen yogurt.
- Purchase foods made from whole grains. Examples include: low-fat low-sodium popcorn, quinoa, whole grain mini-bagels, crackers, pasta.
- Choose lean protein options. Examples include: chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, beans, and legumes.
- Choose foods prepared in a healthy way. Grilled, baked, poached, roasted, braised, or broiled. Avoid fried foods.
- Consider healthier dessert options. Examples include: angel food cake, sherbet, mints, or fruit.
- Serve more "right-size" portions. Offer reasonably-sized entrees and appropriately-sized serving utensils and plates. For more information, visit choosemyplate.gov.
- Provide nutrition information if available. Ask caterer for nutrition information. Display information alongside food options. Try to list calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, sodium, and fiber.