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Employee Wellness Programs: Low-Cost Programs That Work

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Employee Wellness Programs: Low-Cost Programs That Work

Employee Wellness Programs that support staff members and the setting that they work in have been shown to be a good wellness program return on investment (ROI).  Employee wellness programs can be extensive and sometimes expensive. However, there are ways for small businesses to make positive changes at little or no cost.

Employee Wellness Program: Nutrition Programs

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

  1. Make available healthy eating reminders and prompts to staff members via multiple means (i.e. e-mail, posters, payroll stuffers, etc.).
  2. Make available appealing, low-cost fruits and vegetables in vending machines and in the cafeteria.
  3. Make available cookbooks, food preparation, and cooking classes for staff members’ families.
  4. Ensure workplace cafeterias follow healthy cooking practices and set nutritional standards for foods served that align with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  5. Make available healthy foods at meetings, conferences, and catered events.
  6. Use point-of-decision prompts as a marketing technique to promote healthier choices.
  7. Make available healthy cooking demonstrations that teach skills (i.e. fruit and vegetable selection and preparation).
  8. Make available taste-testing opportunities at the workplace.
  9. Make available staff member-led campaigns, demonstrations or programs.
  10. Make available local fruits and vegetables at the workplace (i.e. workplace farmer’s market or community-supported agriculture drop-off point).
  11. Use competitive pricing (price non-nutritious foods in vending machines and cafeterias at higher prices).
  12. Make available protected time and dedicated space away from the work area for breaks and lunch.
  13. Make kitchen equipment available to staff members.
  14. Make available an opportunity for workplace gardening if possible.

Sweetened Beverage Consumption

  1. Make water available throughout the day.
  2. Make available appealing, low-cost healthful drink options in vending machines and the cafeteria.
  3. Modify worksite vending contracts to increase the number of healthy options.
  4. Price non-nutritious beverages at a higher cost.
  5. Use point-of-decision prompts to promote healthier choices.

Portion Control

  1. Label foods to show serving size and/or nutritional content.
  2. Make available food models, food scales for weighing and pictures to help staff members determine portion size.
  3. Make available appropriate portion sizes at meetings, workplace events and in the cafeteria.


  1. Support nursing mothers by providing them rooms for expressing milk in a secure and relaxed setting, a refrigerator for storage of breast milk, policies that support breast feeding, and lactation education programs.
  2. Make available flexible scheduling and/or workplace or near-site child care to allow for milk expression during the workday.
  3. Adopt alternative work options (i.e. teleworking, part-time, extended maternity) for breastfeeding mothers returning to work.
  4. Educate personnel on the importance of supporting breastfeeding co-workers.

Television & Food Advertising

  1. Place TV’s in non-eating areas of the workplace.
  2. Limit food advertising in the cafeteria (i.e. print and other media).

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