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How do I Create an Engaging Corporate Wellness Plan?

There are so many resources available today for creating a corporate wellness program. Some of them are free and some cost. But, regardless of price, how do you choose the most effective corporate wellness tools, activities and programs that will best fit your audience? Let’s face it; the key to a successful program is employee engagement. When you’re employees are engaged and getting healthy, then you know that you’ve created an effective, successful corporate wellness program.
So, how do you begin sifting through all the tools to find the ones that your employees will love? We’ve enlisted the help of our expert dietitian to share the top things that you should look for… and avoid, when creating your corporate wellness program.

  • Include useful tools: Online tools are great for employees with busy schedules. Because they can access them anytime anywhere, they are easy for employees to take advantage of. i.e.: NCES Virtual Learning Series
  • Incentives or giveaways: Nothing motivates like getting free stuff! NCES offers a full line of Incentive products that will work great for motivating your group.
  • Create something for them to follow: Creating an 8-12 week weight loss program that your employees can stick to will help gain interest. Many times, people just don’t know where to start. So, by giving them a plan designed by a professional, you’re giving them everything they need to get started. Need help getting started? NCES has created a free 2-week workout plan that you can use to get your program up and running.
  • Decorate the cafeteria: Does your workplace have an onsite cafeteria? If so, decorate it with posters, healthy meal choices and inspirational quotes that will help your employees think about making healthy choices.
  • Host a Health Fair: Provide an opportunity for your employees who are interested in getting or staying healthy to come get resources. Be sure to have plenty of handouts that your employees can take home and share with their family. Also, at your health fair, be sure to provide them some value for attending. For example, do free cholesterol screenings for everyone that attends and have a blood pressure machine available for employees to be proactive in determining the state of their health.
  • Create a monthly E-Newsletter: Providing helpful resources directly to your employee’s inbox is a great way to reach them. Most of the time, taking the time to create a resources like this is the toughest part. Our NCES Health Beat newsletter gives you 24 predesigned, customizable newsletters that ready for you to distribute to your audience.

Now that you know what types things to include in your newly developing corporate wellness plan, here are a few tips from the experts on what you want to avoid when you’re thinking about creating your corporate wellness program.

  • Avoid useless, overdone information: The internet is a vast tool full of resources on everything, including how to ‘get healthy’. Keep your program new and exciting so that your employees will be engaged.
  • Don’t answer all of their questions right off the bat: Leave them wanting more! If they want more, they’ll continue coming back. Plus, they’ll stay engaged in your program.
  • Don’t create a plan with no basis: Make sure that you have a firm understanding of what your employees want to see and be sure to provide those tools and resources in your program.
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How to Pitch your New Corporate Wellness Plan

The first step to achieving any goal is deciding to accept the challenge. So, you’ve accepted the challenge and decided to tackle your company’s new corporate wellness plan. Or, you’ve been given no choice because your boss has decided that you’re going to be the person in charge of the new wellness initiative. What do you do next? How do you convince everyone in the company, both the budget makers and the employees who you’re creating the program for, that the program is worthwhile?

  1. Create an awesome presentation: Sell your audience on the program! Make them believe that they can’t live without it. Or, that you’re making getting healthy so easy, they’d be crazy not to participate. If you can engage them when you’re pitching the idea, it will be easier to engage them when you actually implement the plan.
  2. Bring some products: Whether you want to use exercise equipment, educational tools, online classes or a combination of everything, show your audience exactly what you’re going to be using to help them get healthy. If they can see what everything looks like, they’re much more likely to use it when you bring it in to the workplace.
  3. Provide some background statistics: Do your research and show them why a program like the one you’re proposing really does work. Whether you’re presenting to company execs and explaining to them why they should invest in this or to your employees who want to know why they should participate, show them how it has worked for others and how it can work for them too.
  4. Understand your company culture: Each company works a little different. So, take time to understand your company’s culture and what makes it tic. What will appeal to the company execs? What will appeal to a majority of your employees? Be sure to build a pitch that will appeal to all of their interests.

There you have it! These are our top tips for pitching your new corporate wellness program. Pitching a new program is never easy, especially when you’re asking for a budget to get the program off the ground. But, the benefits of a solid corporate wellness program are undeniable.

If you need help getting a presentation started, we’re always here to help! Let our experts help you create a presentation that will knock your boss’s socks off. Just email info@ncescatalog.com to get started today.

Not sure what types of products to include in your proposal? Our expert dietitian is offering her insight in our next blog on what products to include in your presentation, and what products to never include. So, stay tuned later this week! Or, let’s make it easy… subscribe to the NCES HealthBeat blog today to get updates right to your inbox! (You can find the subscribe button on the top, right hand side of this blog!)

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Heart Health: Are Supplements the Answer?

So, you’re driving home from the doctor’s office and they’ve just informed you that you are at an increased risk of stroke due to cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or some other heart health concern. What do you do? Do you turn to supplements? Or, do you alter your eating habits and levels of physical activity to make your heart stronger? Well, the answer may be different for each person. So, here are some tips on determining the right solution for you, or your client.

The first thing I’ll say is that, no matter what you do, you need to consider your diet and start cutting out foods that are bad for your heart and learn to incorporate heart healthy foods. Even if you decide that supplements are the right choice for you, it’s important to remember that they are exactly what their title says, “Supplements”. They are designed to supplement your healthy diet and lifestyle. Just to get you started, here are the Top 5 foods that we recommend you avoid if you’re focusing on heart health.

  1. Processed Foods (i.e.: boxed meals, snacks, etc)
  2. Fried Foods
  3. Regular Soda
  4. High fat, sugary foods (i.e.: cakes, cookies, brownies, etc)
  5. Fatty meats

Okay, so at this point, you’ve made the decision to eat healthier. Now comes the time to decide if supplements are the right choice for you. Supplements have been proven to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), especially Omega-3 and fish oils. So, if you’re looking to take your efforts up a notch, incorporating supplements will help you accomplish that goal. If you’re being completely proactive and working to prevent any heart related illnesses, then supplements may not be what you need.
Now that you have an idea of what you’re going for; diet change and/or supplements, it may be a good time to consult your doctor. You’ve learned the potential benefits of supplements. But, you should not doubt the professional medical opinion of a trusted physician.

Heart health is an important concern that often gets pushed off until a person is forced to face it because of a stroke or other major medical incident. Be sure to get your heart in check before it’s too late. If you’re a dietitian or physician, take advantage of every opportunity to teach your patients about heart health and how they too can have a healthy heart!

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Celebrate Heart Health Month: Which Oil is best for your Heart?

As I’m sure you’re well aware of by now, February is Heart Health Month. With all of the attention given these days to having the perfect figure, many people lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is not only to have a trim physique but also to have a healthy body, inside and out. Heart health is often a subject that gets ignored by most people when they are only concerned about the amount of calories and/or carbohydrates a certain food has. However, Cardiovascular Disease still takes the lives of 2150 Americans each day. (heart.org) One huge contributor to cholesterol levels are oils. Whether you’re cooking a dish, making your own salad dressing or baking some sweet treats, the type of oil that you use can have a direct impact on your cholesterol levels. So, how do you know which one to choose? Here are the top 3 most common oils and how they can affect your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.

Olive Oil: In recent years, olive oil has gained in popularity, mainly due to its heart healthy properties. Because of its mix of antioxidants, olive oil can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol without changing your HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Coconut Oil: Although there is still a lot of research out about the exact health benefits of coconut oil, there are some general conclusions that tend to be the same across the board. As we’ve touched on in previous articles, coconut oil is becoming hugely popular (and controversial) due to its touted benefits. It appears that coconut oil does increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in your body. However, it may also increase the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. So, do the pros outweigh the cons?

Vegetable/Canola Oil: Vegetable oil has long been a staple in American pantries. It’s the most commonly used cooking oil. Canola oil has only 7% saturated fat and works to lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. That’s really a good combination.

Although there are many choices when it comes to cooking oils, it’s always important to remember that different oils will impact your overall cholesterol levels, both good and bad. An increase in total cholesterol isn’t always a bad thing. What’s important to focus on is your ratio of LDL to HDL. If you are facing a serious heart problem like cardiovascular disease or other risk of stroke, it’s important to consult a doctor about how to manage your diet. However, if you’re someone looking to get your whole body in shape, not just your outside appearance, start by paying attention to your heart health.

Are you a dietitian or educator looking to teach your patients about heart health? NCES offers a full line of heart healthy educational tools, including the “Busting the Myths about Fats: Saturated Fat” and “Busting the Myths about Fats: Monounsaturat Fat” tear pads.

heart health

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Portions from the Eyes of a Beginner

With this Sunday touted as the official end to the ‘Eating Season’, Portion Control has been weighing heavily on our minds. Starting Monday, many people will begin the yearly ritual of ‘dieting’ to remove the extra pounds they accumulated during the holidays before swimsuit season hits in just a few short months. For some they’ll choose to go it alone and find an online program or book that can guide their healthier eating choices, others will seek professional help in person through dietitians, nutritionists, weight coaches, etc. No matter the method they choose, most have the same goal; to lose weight and be healthy. We received a note from a longtime friend of NCES who has started their journey of losing some extra pounds sharing their feelings on what they’ve learning about portion control. Odds are, many of your patients are feeling this very same way!

“I’ve lost a handful of pounds, slowly and safely in the past month, learning more and more about healthy eating in the process. The most eye opening fact, however, was the difference in the amount of food I ate, rather than the content. Don’t get me wrong, a deep fried Twinkie is still a deep fried Twinkie, and there’s really no way to logically fit that into a diet, no matter how you try to sneak it in. But, say a nice cheeseburger and fries; that’s something you can enjoy, even on a diet. It’s size that really matters.

The hardest thing to wrap my head around when I started this diet, is that when I’m looking at that delicious, mouth-watering cheeseburger, and those fresh, salty fries, I’m actually seeing double; two servings. What I had to do was learn to immediately cut that burger in half, stash it (and half the fries) into a to-go container, and then begin my meal, savoring each saucy, delectable bite. Portions, or rather, what we put on our plates, have gotten ridiculously inflated over the past several decades of American dining. At any given restaurant, you’re usually given two servings on one plate at a time. So when you finish eating, it was only one plate of pancakes and hash browns, when in fact, you ate enough for two meals, or more.”

So, next time you meet with a client who is struggling with their weight loss program, hopefully this excerpt can help you to better understand where they’re struggling and why eating in America today makes it hard for us to be healthy. Or, if you’re someone who is struggling with portion control yourself, know that you’re not alone. If you feel exactly like our reader, you’re normal! Understanding and adhering to appropriate portions takes training. So, for many clients, the training is exactly where to start. NCES offers many products including portion plates, educational tear pads and food models to aid in teaching about portions at www.NCEScatalog.com. Feel free to browse the site, or you can call our on-site dietitian at 877.NCES.BOOKS for help shopping for the perfect product for you.