Nutrition: Transforming Health from the Inside Out
For people trying to balance staying well with leading busy lives, self-improvement might feel complicated, expensive, and even at times unfeasible. It feels like there isn’t time to work in a meditation session, kids’ soccer practice, a trip to the grocery store, a high-intensity workout, and quality time with your spouse, all in the same day.
But what if making a positive change started with something simple. What if it started with a healthy meal?
What is nutrition?
Nutrition is the process of using food to fuel your body and day-to-day activities. When a person eats a balanced diet, the nutrients they ingest power a healthy immune system, lower the risk of developing chronic conditions, and help them stay an active and productive member of their community.
When someone’s diet lacks the nutrients they need, they may need guidance from a professional to get back on track. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) teach people how to eat smarter and live better, while using information about chronic conditions and a member’s relationship with food to guide individuals towards healthier lifestyles. The goal of nutrition services is to help members learn more about their bodies and overall health, appreciate healthier foods, and see positive changes in their wellbeing.
How does nutrition impact overall health?
It might seem obvious: How you fuel your body affects how it operates. Poor nutrition causes day-to-day problems – fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, sleep disruptions, and more. If left untreated, it can lead to a wide variety of chronic conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and hypertension, as well as many digestive disorders.
A balanced diet provides the building blocks for good health, and Registered Dietitians serve as accountability partners and educators for those looking to build a solid foundation. But in a lifestyle medicine approach to nutrition, that’s not the only way they impact a member’s health.
In lifestyle medicine, nutrition is integrated with other aspects of a patient’s overall care plan. Registered dietitians leverage their expertise in nutrition and partner with other providers – including primary care providers, behavioral health counselors, and wellness coaches among others – to align on a cohesive treatment strategy as a unified care team.
For example, during an annual check-up, a primary care provider notices a member lost a significant amount of weight since their last visit. Investigating the loss reveals the member has been undereating for several months as they’ve experienced overwhelming feelings of stress. The primary care provider then worked alongside a licensed behavioral health counselor to address the member’s mental health and a dietitian to help them add easy-to-make, nutrient-dense meals back to their diet.
Ultimately, when providers align on a strategy as a team, the member sees the benefits and gets the guidance they need to achieve success.
Why is nutrition education important in the workplace?
Most adults spend nearly a quarter of their week at work. It makes sense that if nutrition isn’t prioritized there, it puts employees at a disadvantage when trying to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle.
To put members’ goals in reach, employers must lead the charge in developing a workplace nutrition strategy.
For individuals, Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) provides one-on-one meetings with dietitians to help members gain an awareness about their diet and lifestyle to treat and reverse chronic conditions. Employers can make these appointments accessible by establishing onsite and nearsite wellness centers where members can securely and easily meet with a registered dietitian in-person or virtually for guidance.
But nutrition services can have a larger impact, too. By partnering with an expert that collaborates with cafeteria and food service vendors to evaluate snack offerings and make healthier suggestions, employers increase the number of healthy foods their population access. Group events like educational seminars and cooking classes teach members to make nutritious, satisfying meals for their whole families. And a comprehensive corporate wellness program that incentivizes lifestyle change among employees and their dependents supports the whole strategy.
When employers make exciting and helpful resources available, members’ lives are changed. One organization looking to connect their members to resources on how to cook and eat healthy meals includes something a little different in their onsite wellness center – a teaching kitchen! At the teaching kitchen, a Culinary Program Manager serves as a professional chef and wellness coach, teaching daily classes on how to make plant-based whole foods as part of a nutritious diet. Employees and their partners can sign up for 30-to-60-minute tutorials to learn how to make tasty, budget-friendly recipes from custom spice blends to fully prepped meals.
As a result, members flocked to the opportunities, with some classes gaining up to a two-month waitlist, citing improved confidence in healthy eating, new ideas for involving the whole family in meal prep, and a whole host of new kitchen skills. It’s just one example of how an organization can work with a comprehensive nutrition partner, to provide life-changing nutrition resources to employees and their families.
Bringing healthier options to the table
At Premise Health, our registered dietitians offer nutrition services that focus on educating members on how to eat healthier and live more fulfilling lives with the support from their whole care team. Through individualized visits with members, seminars, and even hands-on demonstrations, we help our members prioritize healthy eating so they can reduce their risk for chronic conditions and live life to the fullest. Ready to learn more? Get in touch today to get started.