The value of healthy eating

A healthy workforce can only add value to your business. So encourage your employees to eat right. There is compelling evidence to suggest that a healthy and balanced diet reduces the risk of:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Hyperlipidemia (High blood lipid levels)
  • Obesity
Eating right definitely matters!

As an employer

You are in an excellent position to positively influence the eating habits of your employees. Simple steps you take to promote healthy eating can make a big difference in helping them adopt healthy eating practices. You can begin by having a workplace nutrition programme.

Objectives of a comprehensive Workplace Nutrition Programme

A comprehensive Workplace Nutrition Programme should aim to promote and sustain healthy dietary practices among employees, thereby reducing the risk of diet-related illnesses by:
  • Having organisational polices to encourage healthy eating
  • Creating a supportive workplace environment to make it easy to practise healthy eating
  • Creating opportunities to acquire right skills in making healthier food choices
It is a programme that your company can provide continually to improve and maintain the health of your employees, and ultimately, their productivity.

Like the fable, keep your golden goose healthy. Feed them right.

Your workplace has everything to gain from having an on-site nutrition programme.

How HPB can help you kick start a Workplace Nutrition Programme

Starting a workplace nutrition programme is simple and inexpensive. You can begin small and gradually build on it.

For workplaces that have initiatives to promote healthy eating, enhancing and sustaining it is vital.

A comprehensive workplace nutrition programme addresses three key components that influence employees’ adoption of healthy eating habits.

When designing a programme, consider employing a combination of the following three health promotion components. These components represent a group of activities that are closely related. Some specific activity examples are listed for each component.

The diagram below shows how they integrate to form a comprehensive programme.

1. Organisational Policies

A policy is a course of action that has been intentionally chosen which guides and influences decisions in an organisation.

 In the case of health promotion, it shows a commitment to build a culture that supports health. Likewise, in a workplace nutrition programme, it has policies to enhance health by encouraging healthier eating habits.

 Good policies are foundations of a successful programme.

 Your company can adopt policies to encourage healthy eating. Click on each for a sample template.
a. Healthy Workplace Nutrition Policy - Your organisation’s commitment to promote health through healthy eating initiatives.

b. Healthy Workplace Catering Policy (also applicable to workplaces with onsite canteens) – Your organisation’s commitment to provide healthier food at corporate functions held in or outside the company, as well as making healthier food available at canteens to encourage the adoption of healthy eating habits if applicable.

2. Creating Supportive Environments

Surroundings and conditions that foster and support healthy eating are important in encouraging employees to adopt healthy eating habits.

 Each workplace is unique. Understanding your organisation’s needs and business processes will help you better design customized programmes.
a.  Healthier Workplace Catering Initiative
An excellent place to begin is at your canteens. The healthier canteen programme aims to make available healthier food options at workplace canteens. This way, employees are able to choose and have access to healthier meals.

It involves ensuring that food served at the canteens meets these guidelines. These guidelines are simple steps and modifications that can be made to promote healthy eating.

 To get started, interested workplaces can download the Healthier Canteen toolkit comprising of:

  •  A workplace catering monitoring checklist resource guide with explanatory notes on the guidelines,
  •  Check out these tips! for self-assessment, and
  •  A complementary canteen public education display kit from HPB. (canteen table top stickers, tentcards and posters)

The score sheets can be submitted along with the application for the Singapore Health Award and the Nutrition Sub-category award.

If you need more help, there are also experienced workplace canteen operators who can help you offer healthier food according to the guidelines and workplace health consultants would be able to help you make these healthier modifications.

b.  Healthier Meetings and Functions 
Serving healthier options during meetings and functions is an excellent way to encourage employees to eat right. For ideas and suggestions, check out these guidelines.

Need to cater for receptions or lunch buffets?

Go for a healthier menu! There are more than 32 HPB-certified Healthier Caters!

More tips and tricks? Do check out “The Dummy’s Guide to catering a Healthier Menu”

Planning to dine out for the annual ‘Dinner and Dance’?
There are now more than 260 HPB certified Healthier Restaurants offering a myriad of interesting and healthier cuisines. Be pleasantly surprised at the taste!

c. Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) Products and Fruits Bazaars

Did you know that there are more than 2000 HCS products available today? And the numbers are growing!

Make it easy for employees to buy them by having a HCS Products Bazaar. It is convenient and popular with a lot of workplaces. A fresh fruits bazaar is an excellent alternative too.  
d.  Vending machines with healthier food
There are now vending machines dispensing freshly cut fruits. It’s even more convenient now to h help your employees get their recommended 2 servings of fruits daily.

 If your worksite has a vending machine, we strongly encourage you to replace some items with those having the HCS label.

e.  Fruit Scheme
Good news! There are companies now selling freshly cut fruits in personal sized portions delivered to your workplace. Be sure to contact them! 

3. Building awareness and personal skills

The proverbial “… teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is exactly why equipping employees with skills and knowledge to take charge of their health is crucial.

Giving employees the information they need to make healthy food choices and equipping them with skills to get actively involved in changing their eating behaviours goes a long way in helping them adopt a lifestyle of eating healthily.

Learning occurs in various forms. Below are some support services which you may consider.  
a. Culinary classes and cooking demonstrations
Food is a big attraction. 

Culinary classes and cooking demonstrations are an awesome way to get your employees excited. They can learn techniques on how to cook healthily and choose healthier ingredients wisely. It benefits both themselves and their families.

b. Wellness Cooking Classes
Want to cook like the experts, yet making it suitable for everyone, including family members with a chronic condition?

Come join the Wellness culinary classes! It is a series of sessions where participants will try recipes developed by famous chefs that are suitable for people with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension etc. Even if you don’t have these conditions, these dishes are guaranteed to tempt the taste buds of anyone who tries them.

Classes are held once a month at selected community centers. For more information, visit www.one.pa.gov.sg

c. Healthy cooking demonstrations
Cooking demonstrations are a hot favourite amongst employees. Learning about healthy cooking techniques and choosing healthier ingredients are some of them. You may engage experienced chefs and trainers to conduct these Healthier cooking demonstrations at your workplace or pick from our list of service providers who offer these as well. Fees apply.

‘Weigh to go’ – A workplace Weight Management Programme
Has your health screening revealed that your employees are tipping their scales a little too much? It takes more than just ‘slimming treatments’ or fad diets to successfully and safely lose weight and maintain it.

Weigh to go, is a HPB workplace weight management programme that uses behavioral change techniques and building personal health skills to help employees achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

 It is a series of:
 (a) 3 engaging and fun workshop sessions on healthy eating
 (b) 3 exercise-cum-workshop session on physical activity
 (c) 2 post workshop follow up phone calls

Each workshop is 2 hours long, held weekly at your workplace. It aims to intensively engage, motivate overweight / obese employees to learn skills and make lifestyle modifications on healthy eating and getting active – two keys components in managing weight.

Workplaces are strongly encourage to complement the programme with some initiatives mentioned above like the:
 (a) Healthier canteen programme (if the worksite has a canteen)
 (b) Healthier meetings and functions guidelines

These service providers have been appointed by HPB to conduct these workshops. Each workshop can take a minimum of 15 and maximum of 30 persons, ranging from $1,800-$3,300 per workplace Do contact these service providers for more costing and programme details.

Service Provider Contact person and details Cost per workplace and complimentary services
Nutrition Network Services Ms Teo Kiok Seng
97441403 / 64647857

Each additional workout session at $150

Dayspring Corporate Wellness Pte Ltd

Ms Eunice Woo
63399339 (O) 63399789 (Fax)

Each additional workout session at $350

Fitness Guru Pte Ltd

Mr Hisham Musa
63660224 / 91090995

Each additional workout session at $280

Diet Professionals

Ms Angela Ng
96570204(Angela) 92220441 (Jaynthi)

Each additional workout session at $250
Complimentary 2 email follow-ups to participants

Primary Care Academy

Mr Qiu Yizheng
64966689 (O) 64966669 (Fax)

Every additional workout session at $500

For more information on Workplace Nutrition Programme, simply click here.

d. The Amazing Food Race

The amazing food race is a series of 6 station games with task on healthy eating that teams will have to perform. These tasks will test their knowledge on general healthy eating and in the process, pick up a tip or two on how they can adopt healthier eating habits! Besides learning, your employees are in for a time of team bonding and friendly competitions!

This game can be conducted right at your workplace. The game instructions and station details are available for download. Some game materials can be loaned from HPB, subject to availability. Email your loan request to hpb_nutrition@hpb.gov.sg.

e. Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace
To promote continued breastfeeding for working mums, the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy Singapore (ABAS) is available to conduct lunchtime talks for staff at workplaces to help them understand and manage breastfeeding better after returning to work. The talks are conducted by ABAS volunteers who are trained healthcare professionals or experienced mothers from the support groups. The two topics offered are:

  •  Working and Breastfeeding – This talk covers the practical aspects of how mothers can continue feeding infants breast milk even after they have returned to full-time work.
  •  Feeding Baby Right in the First Year - This topic guides parents on the best nutrition for infants in the first year of life. ABAS also provide consultations to assist workplaces to set up Lactation Rooms.  For more information, costing and registration, click here.