Durban - The lunch hour is shrinking – in fact, for many it’s become the lunch “half-hour”. As a result, an alarming number of South Africans eat their midday meal at their desk, or wolf something down mindlessly while scrolling through emails on their phone. During Corporate Wellness Week, which takes place from 2 to 6 July, businesses are being encouraged to review their staff’s wellbeing in the workplace, this includes how they fuel their day.
“Many office workers have developed a fast food habit – ordering in or grabbing a pie on-the-go. These highly processed foods contribute to the post-lunch slump and they have a long-term negative impact on health,” says Wayne Kaminsky, founder of ready-to-eat healthy meal service FitChef.
While you can’t avoid stress entirely, he says, you can be more resilient to it by choosing better food; “Quality food should be part of any business strategy. Eating well dramatically strengthens your immune system, focus and energy levels, which in the end improves your performance.”
Large companies have long seen the benefits of providing meals on site – including higher staff retention and identification with the brand. However traditional cafeteria food is increasingly becoming unpopular and foot traffic to serving lines is declining; “Employees are becoming more health conscious, they’re looking for greater diversity in their meals, more than a typical canteen can provide,” says Kaminsky.
The food tech scene has disrupted office mealtimes too, with on-demand delivery services cutting the time and cost of ordering in. Kaminsky warns however that restaurants and caterers seldom hold back when it comes to using the fryer or dousing their meals with artificial ingredients and added sugar, this can be detrimental to employee health. In contrast, FitChef is committed to only creating meals that are free from chemicals, preservatives, colourants and other highly refined additives. They do not add any sugar, refined salt, gluten flours or starchy thickeners to their meals. Most are gluten free and meats are growth hormone and routine antibiotic free.
Customers and corporates can order a month’s worth of FitChef meals online, for home or office delivery. Meals are also stocked at national retail outlets, including Dis-chem, Spar, Sasol and Chrome. Tackling all of the health pitfalls that modern society has introduced, meal options include work lunch packages, on-the-go breakfasts, healthy snacks, smoothies and dinners.
With obesity levels at their worst level in human history – in South Africa, 70% of women and 40% of men are overweight or obese – the company is hitting the right note with their strict policy on healthy food and commitment to changing lives through making eating well convenient.
“Making the change to a healthy diet shouldn’t be daunting – it’s got to be tasty, convenient and suitable to today’s on-the-go lifestyle. Businesses will soon see the benefits of promoting a healthy diet in their teams,” says Kaminsky.