Given the many opportunities for providing or selling food and beverages and the influence workplaces have on the employee’s eating habits, makes them an important setting for action to promote healthy eating by creating an environment where healthy food choices are readily accessible. Tips for providing healthy meals and in-between meals:
Meetings, conferences or events are held for the whole day or in some instances for half a day thus provision of meals can be based on the duration of the event.
When ordering meals or refreshments, request the energy content per serving from the service provider. Alternatively, contact a registered dietitian who will be able to advise you on the energy content of meals and beverages.
The recommendations for meals and in-between meals are applicable to all cafeterias, canteens and coffee shops.
1) Choosing food options for meals
Healthy eating means making healthy food choices in line with the guidelines for healthy eating and by choosing portions with caution. Meals offered in the workplace should use the guidelines for healthy eating. (See the ‘Meal & Snack Examples’ section for practical ideas on choosing healthy food options for meals at work)
2) Choose portions with caution
Know the portion size for serving food as it will assist to determine sensible and healthy portion sizes and curb overeating and or food waste. Use smaller plates, bowls and serving utensils. Use smaller glasses for drinks.
3) Beverages at meetings, conferences or in cafeterias or canteens
• Serve water in jugs or bottled still water as the main beverage.
• Offer tea or coffee, as well as herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee as an alternative.
• Provide low-fat or fat-free milk for tea or coffee but no coffee creamers or tea whiteners.
PROVIDING SNACKS & BEVERAGES THROUGH VENDING MACHINES AND KIOSKS
The criteria below provide guidance in respect of snacks and beverages that are to be provided through vending machines and kiosks:
It is suggested that beverages are provided or chosen should include: water (still or sparkling/soda); tea or coffee -regular or decaffeinated (sugar and sugar substitutes may be provided and milk such as low-fat, 2%, 1% fat or fat-free milk only); low-fat UHT milk (200 ml tetrapacks); 100% vegetable juice with no added sugar and ≤ 200mg of sodium (maximum of 250ml per serving); Low-energy beverages i.e light/ zero/ diet (maximum of 200ml per serving).
Provide an assortment of healthier food choices including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free/low-fat dairy products, and lower amounts of saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.
3) Point-of-purchase (POP) labelling
Each vending machine must clearly display the total energy content for each item near each individual item or its selection button and where it can be seen before the consumer selects items.