A nutritious diet can serve as a potent, protective cover for working women at risk of nutrition-linked disorders and diseases. It can enhance their wellbeing and help them during pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), breast cancer, menopause, and urinary tract infections. With higher participation of women in the Indian labour force touching 30%, a spotlight on women’s health is critical today.

According to a study conducted in 2011, workplace nutrition programs showed a return on investment of $2-$6 for each $1 invested, thanks to healthcare cost savings and lower absenteeism.

If you are on the way to building a more gender-balanced workforce or are struggling with female attrition, turn to these strategies for including nutrition mandatorily in the cafeteria menu.

1. Reorient Your Meal Offerings

Many nutrition-linked conditions can be healed through specific foods. Menopause, for instance, can cause a rapid decline in estrogen, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. Heart-healthy fats can help maintain balance with changing hormone reserves. Likewise, pregnancy requires food safety and enhanced nutrition. By tailoring your existing meal offerings to provide nutritional value, you can encourage women towards healthy eating behaviors. In addition, to augmented meal plans, revisit the cleanliness and hygiene of your kitchen and storage facilities and look at introducing opportunities for physical activity and on-demand healthy refreshments.

2. Provide Nutrition Education

Many women burn out without knowing that their energy and stress levels are dependent on good nutrition. To increase health awareness amongst women employees’, leaflets, newsletters, and social media platforms can be sources of information. Workshops and group discussions are alternatives.

3. Build a Conducive Environment

If you advocate a philosophy of need-based nutrition, supplement it by stocking your vending machines with wholesome options, overhauling your cafeteria menu, introducing storage facilities for home cooked food and subsidizing the price of healthy meals. Focus on food items for specific groups can be arranged so employers can make nutritious additions to the round-the-clock menu.

4. Create Dedicated Meal Breaks

Most often, a hectic work week can mean compromised meals and inadequate nutrition. The key then is to facilitate regular lunch breaks to encourage all employees to eat at regular intervals to reenergize. A survey by the British Dietetics Association revealed that 62% of employees forego their lunch break by prioritizing on work. When health and work are given equal importance,  lifestyle diseases are likely to manifest in a milder form or not at all.

5. Evaluate Effectiveness

Measuring the efficacy of successful wellness initiatives is important. Set control measures against a timeline and evaluate the impact on retention, attrition, productivity, absenteeism and gender ratio over your review period.

Health issues of women can be a significant contributor to attrition, and yet, it is often overlooked. By taking measures to enhance nutrition, you can augment the quality of life for your women employees. All it requires are a few thoughtful changes to workplace menu.

Founded in 2013, OurHealthMate (OHM) is a health tech startup. Our award-winning services are rooted in a three-pronged service strategy: care planning, business intelligence and execution, and our corporate portfolio extend to over 750,000 employees worldwide.

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