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Overfeeding / overeating in the workplace

We are quite generous with employee amenities in our Head Office – breakfast bars, toast, fresh fruit, chocolates and biscuits. Good snacks to fuel a busy team. Even though we try and balance the offer to ensure that here are healthier options such as the fruit, low fat and high fibre snacks as well as low fat candies, I worry that just offering less healthy options is not good for the workplace. Some will choose the bad food if it is there.

I am considering cutting off the sweet stuff and having an all fruit week or removing the premium biscuits and going with low fat fibre options only. But then I think about how much is eaten and it is obviously being enjoyed. Plus, it is not my responsibility to ensure people always eat healthy.

I don’t know what to do – I like that we provide good amenities which people like. I also like that people who skip breakfast or work through lunch have a range of grazing options. But I don’t want to negatively impact their health. Hence my wondering about having a fruit only week – to draw attention to the need to think about the food choices they make in the office.

Reading back I sound indecisive on this – an attribute I do not like in others and which I hope people do not see in me. The reality is that I am not indecisive on this. I don’t want to change the food offerings. By blogging here I am opening the issue for discussion internally – and externally – in the hope of some wisdom on what constitutes the right balance of employer provided food options in the workplace.


  1. I cannot believe this topic has been here for over a year and none of the TOWER staff have commented!!!! There must be problem with how the comments are not put below the topic because if I worked at TOWER I’d have put my two bob into Mark’s indecisiveness.

    What is needed is no sweets at all; there is always that person (you know who you are) that can’t resist eating that little bit extra – that little bit extra is for the person who is on the phone, or in a meeting.

    Mark, here’s what I’d do and it’s very cheap, tastes great easy to prepare. Have a roster and budget and get the rostered on staff member to go to the supermarket and get a variety of sliced ham, a few different cheeses, olives, sundried tomatoes, etc Get them to prepare it on a big plate and let it sit in the fridge.

    Then get those toothpicks things that aren’t toothpicks but are actually for putting food on them in the fridge so there’s no double dipping and make it the only thing in the fridge apart from the milk, so that is all they can eat – Healthily

    I hope this is some wisdom for you Mark, I had to comment seeing it’s a great topic! I hope your staff engage you in the future on such topics or else they deserve broken biscuits.

  2. Michael,

    The workplace isn’t school. What we don’t need is employers telling their employees what to eat (directly or indirectly).

    If people choose to eat “the sweet stuff” then that is their choice – why should you or anyone impose on that?

  3. Jarryd, the above was only a light hearted joke. Mark is not providing meals for his team, he is just providing snacks.

    He has a right to choose what he provides as snacks, seeing he does not have to provide snacks. It is great to see in these days of obesity epidemics, an employer showing some thought into providing a healthy snack such as fruit that hopefully result in the reduction of sick days and increased productivity and employee health. That’s why an employer should impose on it.

    If people want to eat the sweet stuff it’s fine, they can buy it and put it in the fridge, eat it there’s nothing wrong with that. Employers cannot tell people what to eat.

  4. We have a good mix now of fruit, cream biscuits, raisin bread (for toast), English muffins, health breakfast bars, candy, coffee and tea. Plus, on Fridays, pastries.


  5. In my previous occupation I supplied lunch for all my staff (12) everyday. They had two hot lunches and three cold (ie sandwiches) as well as biscuits, ladies ammenities, coffee/tea/flavoured mik drinks. Lunches brought the staff together offering an opportunity to discuss issues they had had during that morning but primarily it was a team building experience. Would I do it again – yes BUT it took one staff member one hour to shop and prepare, then we would have staff complaining about they didn’t like this and they didn’t like that and could we please consider their special needs when they were on a special diet. The financial cost also became a budgeted item rather than a petty cash issue.
    Your healthy snack provision with a set selection is a different approach and one worth exploring in my own newsagency.

  6. at work we all just buy our own stuff and share it with everyone. lots of junk food of course, since we only sell chocolates, etc at the counter.

    but there are times when people head over to the supermarket and get more healthy options to share around.

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