From the Blog:

You Are What You Eat: The Importance of Nutrition for Well-Being

Today we launched a partnership with Zipongo because we know eating habits play a critical role in an individual’s overall well-being at home and at work.

Zipongo guides employees through each day and all of the food decisions that they have to make. The user interface uniquely focuses on enabling people to make the healthier choice and more convenient choice with every food decision they make. Read below for their thoughts on the importance of nutrition in well-being improvement.

We believe that the most successful well-being programs take a holistic approach. Here’s what we’ve learned about key factors to healthy, productive employees — and the particular importance of nutrition.

Health Risk Factors Are Interconnected

There are many ways to be unhealthy in modern society. A program that addresses as many of them as possible is more likely to succeed. What’s more, these risk factors tend to be interconnected. For example, stress leads to poor nutrition choices. Poor nutrition lowers energy levels, which leads to less exercise. Less exercise, less sleep and poor nutrition all contribute to stress levels.

When looking at a program, a weight-loss initiative focused on exercise misses the poor nutrition choices that contribute to obesity. This is why well-being and engagement programs must address more than one risk factors to help employees succeed.

A Comprehensive Program Must Prioritize Nutrition

We’ve found that nutrition is a key driver of well-being, but often overlooked in programs. And programs that fail to make nutrition a priority are less likely to have a lasting impact on healthcare costs or employee well-being.

Healthy eating doesn’t just promote physical well-being. Research increasingly points to a link between nutrition and mental health. In a recently published study in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, a panel of 18 psychiatric professionals concluded: “We advocate recognition of diet and nutrition as central determinants of both physical and mental health.”

But despite the mountain of evidence demonstrating the impact of food choice on health and well-being, nutrition is still an underserved component of most well-being and engagement programs. That’s because…

Healthy Eating Is Harder Than It Looks

Most people have the information they need to eat healthier. They know that water is a better choice than soda, and that yogurt is a better breakfast than a doughnut. If healthy eating were just about knowing what to eat, your employees would already be doing it.

Unfortunately, it isn’t about education. It’s about the choices that we’re faced with every day. In an average day, there’s over 200 times we’re faced with a food choice. And the scales are already tipped in favor of unhealthy foods. For adults juggling work, home life, and a family, cheap and easy usually wins out.

Education alone can’t counteract the massive influence of the food industry. To truly succeed in changing habits, programs need to take a page from the food industry’s playbook. We need to focus on influencing choices.

As a whole, people tend to gravitate toward the simplest, easiest choices.

Changing Eating Habits Requires Behavioral Science

The only way to bring about lasting change is to make the healthy choice as simple, cheap and easy as unhealthy choices seem to be.

That’s the guiding principle behind Zipongo, our digital nutrition platform. We designed Zipongo to influence as many food choices as possible, from the company cafeteria or the grocery store to the “I forgot to meal plan” takeout night. We aim to make healthy eating as delicious, satisfying and mindless as ordering a pizza and cheesy bread.

Zipongo works because it is:

1. Personalized. Employees start with an in-depth survey and Zipongo uses that information to create highly specific recommendations.

2. Comprehensive. Employees make better decisions about what to eat with a variety of supportive tools at their fingertips.

3. Easy to Use. Employees can use Zipongo to order groceries, get a healthy meal delivered or even do meal planning for the entire family.

Nutrition plays a central role in every individual’s well-being. As such, it should play a central role in your well-being and program. To learn more about Zipongo’s partnership with Limeade, read our partnership announcement here.