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Offer appealing low cost healthful food options

Why: 

Offering appealing, low-cost, healthful food options at the worksite is one way to promote healthful eating to employees.  Vending machines are a quick and convenient way for employees to purchase these types of food.  If cafeterias or snack bars are not available, vending machines may be the only option for employees to purchase foods and beverages.

How: 

Here is one example of how to get healthful food options at the worksite.

Step 1:  Identify employee representative (s) to assess the need and interest in changing vending machine offerings.
   
Step 2:  Conduct a vending machine inventory asking employees to determine their interest in having healthful foods available in machines.  Identify preferences for vending machine items such    
as fruits, vegetables, milk, water, energy bars, pretzels, etc.
   
Step 3:  Identify worksite staff that deal with vending companies.  Identify the date of the vending machine contract renewal and schedule your plans to initiate changes with vending machine     companies several months in advance of this renewal date.
   
Step 4:  Meet with a vendor representative to:

       
  • Explain the Fruits & Veggies-More MattersTM campaign (i.e. focus on environmental changes at work to facilitate dietary change); share the program guidelines.
  • Share the results of the survey that support employees’ desire for healthful food options with the vendor.
  • Provide the vending company with suggestions for healthful food choices and determine which are appropriate to include.
  • Seek permission from the vendor to label fruit and vegetable products with nutrition information on the vending machine.
  • Explore opportunities for reducing the cost of healthful food options.

Step 5:  Recruit employee representatives to publicize and promote the healthful changes in vending options.

  • Post signs near the vending machines encouraging the purchase of new products; place labels on the machines that indicate healthful choices and provide nutrition education. 
  • Continue to publicize the offerings; monitor and maintain labels and signs; and track sales of healthful food items.

Another option to make fruits and vegetables more readily available would be to create a Garden Market or partner with local farmer(s) to hold a farmer’s market on-site.

Resources:

 

  • Healthy Vending:  www.healthyvending.com

  • Produce for Better Health: http://www.pbhfoundation.org or www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

  • Working Well Works: www.tompkinsco.org/wellness/worksite/

  • CDC’s Healthier Worksite Initiative- Nutritious Eating Toolkits and Garden Market: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/hwi/toolkits/index.htm
    and http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/hwi/toolkits/gardenmarket/index.htm