Author: Ashley Johnson, Allergychoices
Allergychoices has incorporated several heath initiatives in an effort to empower our employees to take control of their health. There has been a growing interest regarding employers offering creative ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle, as well as a way for people, especially those struggling with food allergies and other dietary restrictions, to take control of their food supply. Staff gained invaluable knowledge through learning opportunities that accomplished both goals coordinated by Allergy Associates of La Crosse’s registered dietitian, Emily Melby.
Why create a straw bale garden?
There was something to gain for everyone involved. “Straw bale gardening is both easy and accessible, and you don’t need a big yard to do it,” says Emily. “It’s also a great way to educate employees about a new way to garden while also introducing new produce.” With little experience straw bale gardening herself, Emily said that this was an opportunity to get her hands dirty and learn through experience. Staff volunteered throughout the process of conditioning bales and watering the garden. This also opened doors for Emily to educate the staff about the benefits of vegetable consumption.
Staff was provided opportunities to take part in food demonstrations with fresh produce from the garden and also tour the garden. The garden fit well with other health initiatives including meal programs and competitions that encourage employees to eat healthier and monitor their eating choices. It was incredibly helpful to offer incentives such as prizes for employees who participated in the challenges.
Organizations can also take proactive steps by implementing educational tools such as bulletin boards with information about a healthy diet, and provide healthier alternatives in break rooms and vending machines. When encouraging a healthy diet, Emily stated that many times the change doesn’t have to be drastic. Changes can be as simple as switching from white to wheat bread or adding a serving of vegetables to your lunch.
We have continued to promote healthy living and encourage feedback to consistently improve program initiatives. By providing educational tools for a healthy diet and information on food allergies, employees benefit from a healthier lifestyle and a safe and supportive environment for those living with food allergies.
Organizations have the power to make simple yet powerful changes which can lead to a positive impact not only on the individual level, but also benefit your organization as a whole.
For creative ideas to incorporate wellness into your life, visit our Employee Health and Wellness board on Pinterest. And to learn more about how Allergychoices can help your business improve healthcare ROI with disease-modifying treatment options, contact us.