Tips for Directors

Attention school nutrition directors and managers: STEP Up Your Workplace Wellness!

Here are ten tips and ideas to make your workplace a healthier and happier place for your staff – whether it’s an office, cafeteria, or kitchen!

  1. Get walking! Encourage employees to make time to walk together – before work, after work, during break time, or whatever works best for them. You can even organize walking meetings together if the weather is nice – every step counts!
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  3. Cherries Switch to healthier snacks. Ditch donuts, pastries, soda and pizza for healthier snacks and workplace celebrations. Consider options like fruit, string cheese, nuts, bottled water, or fresh veggies and dip. You don’t have to nix all of your employees’ favorite treats - but providing alternatives is a great place to start. For example, if you’re having cupcakes, make sure fresh apple slices are available too.
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  5. Make it competitive and incentivize employees to participate in the STEPS Challenge! SNA regularly awards prizes to participants – but you can provide your own incentives and competitions at the district or school level.  For example, reward the employee that earns the most points in the STEPS monthly challenge with a flower bouquet, a gif tcard, or a healthy treat like a basket of fresh fruit from the local grocery store.
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  7. If you’re in an office setting, encourage employees to take some time to move and stretch at their desks. There are plenty of simple stretches and exercises staff members can do – as a group or on their own! Consider ‘Chair Yoga’, basic stretches, or even Tai Chi. There are free and easy tutorials on YouTube.
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  9. Fresh produce Post reminders about healthy choices everywhere! Does your school cafeteria have a bulletin board for staff in the kitchen or lounge? Does your office have a kitchen where your can make STEPS tracking sheets available? You can even ask all employees to write down a personal health/wellness goal down on a sheet of posterboard and post it to the wall in your office or kitchen.
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  11. Encourage employees to start a book club, knitting circle, walking group, or other social activity that’s open to all. A relaxing activity, bonding with co-workers, and socializing are great for mental wellness and stress reduction. It can also make your workplace a happier place to be.
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  13. Does your school have a track, weight room, or gym that you and your staff might be able to use when it’s not being occupied? Consider asking school administrators if these on-campus facilities might be available for your employees to use in the mornings, evenings, or school breaks.
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  15. Bring in the experts. If your budget allows, break-time seminars are a great way to help employees learn more about healthy habits. Ask local speakers to lead sessions on cooking healthy meals, healthy travel tips, or quick stress management techniques. If you have the space, you can even bring in yoga, or tai chi instructors. Keep sessions short and entertaining but informative, and offer incentives for employees who attend.

  16. Consider offering an employee assistance program for employees who have financial troubles, excess stress, or depression symptoms.

  17. Lead by example! Show your team that you’re committed to changing your workplace culture to embrace wellness, and they’ll be inspired and motivated to join too.

Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/steps to learn about the STEPS Challenge program. You can also browse healthy recipes, fitness ideas, and mental wellness tips. Get started today to make your workplace a healthier and happier place to be for your staff!

Note: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. STEPS is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your health care professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty with any exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider. 

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