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food and beverage


Table of Contents


AHA Mission, Goal and Guiding Values Background Terminology Healthy Workplace Recommendations Healthy Eating Recommendations

Guidance for Leadership and Management

Seven Simple Steps to Get Started Creating a Culture of Healthy Eating How to Implement This Guidance in Your Workplace Office Food Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Pledge Sample Email to Employees

Guidance on Meetings and Events

Beverages General Guidance Nutrition Standards

Snacks Healthier Snack Ideas Nutrition Standards

Meals General Guidance Nutrition Standards

Receptions, Galas and Special Events Healthier Reception Food Ideas Healthier Dessert Ideas for Galas & Special Events

Action Plan for On-site Meals

Menu Plan for Off-site Events Continental Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Breaks and Snacks

Guidance on Vending Machines

Action Plan Healthier Product Ideas Additional Recommendations Nutrition Standards for Food Nutrition Standards for Beverages

Resources and Links


Glossary Guidance by Food Category Healthier Sandwiches Healthier Cooking Methods Guidance for Caterers and Food Vendors Quick Start Guide

You may use the links here to quickly navigate within the toolkit.


?2014, American Heart Association 6/14DS7965



American Heart Association


To build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Health Impact Goal

By 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

Improving and Extending People's Lives

Bringing Science To Life

Building Powerful Partnerships

Speaking with a

Trustworthy Voice

Inspiring Passionate Commitment

Making an Extraordinary


Meeting People Where

They Are

Ensuring Equitable

Health for all


?2014, American Heart Association 6/14DS7965




More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese1, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke as well as many other chronic illnesses and conditions. Making healthy changes in the workplace, where many adults spend much of their day, is an important way to help people be healthier. It also helps cultivate social norms that foster healthier choices and behaviors. A 2010 study showed that improving the types of foods and beverages served and sold in the workplace positively affected employees' eating behaviors and resulted in net weight loss.2

The research is clear that eating nutritious foods and eating only enough to meet energy needs can reduce cardiovascular disease risk and promote wellness. In fact, consuming the right amounts of the right foods may be the single most important thing we can do for cardiovascular health!

The American Heart Association believes that everyone deserves to live a healthier, longer life. Through our science-based knowledge, we empower people, communities and organizations to build a sustainable culture of health. To support our health impact goal of helping all Americans improve their cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association encourages employers to create a healthy work environment and promote a healthy lifestyle for their employees.

Together, we can create an environment where the healthy choice is the default or easy choice.

And it doesn't just benefit your workers. Maintaining a healthier workforce can lower direct costs such

as insurance premiums and worker's compensation claims. It will also positively affect many indirect costs such as absenteeism and worker productivity.3

To help support meaningful and sustainable changes, we've followed two important guiding principles in creating this toolkit: 1) to meet people where they are and 2) to consider the environments where they work. This toolkit is designed for anyone involved with workplace food and beverages, from the office vending machine to an off-site special event involving catering. Our goal is to provide practical, actionable suggestions that are easy to understand and apply. You can modify the guidance we offer to fit the specific needs of your organization. This toolkit is an evolving, evergreen resource that will continue to be updated. Check back with us periodically to see what's new.

Through our many healthy living programs, the American Heart Association offers a variety of recommendations and guidance on food choices and healthy eating. Collectively, they are intended to assist people in all settings and aspects of their lives. The common goal of all AHA nutrition-related programs and initiatives is to empower individuals to adopt a heart-healthy eating pattern that works for them. Foods with varying amounts of calories, sodium, sugars and fats can be part of a balanced and heart-healthy dietary pattern. The food and beverage guidance in this toolkit is intended for healthy adults. People with special medical needs or dietary restrictions should seek the advice of their health professionals.

1 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007 to 2010 (adults), unpublished National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) tabulation 2 Groeneveld IF, Proper KI, van der Beek AJ, Hildebrandt VH, van Mechelen W. Lifestyle-focused interventions at the workplace to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?a systematic review. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2010. 3 Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. The health and cost benefits of work site health-promotion programs. Annu Rev Public Health. 2008.


?2014, American Heart Association 6/14DS7965




Throughout this toolkit and future additions we will use these terms with these definitions:

Culture of Health: A culture in which people live, work, learn, play and pray in environments that support healthy behaviors, timely quality care and overall well-being. The healthy choice is the default choice. All people feel inspired and empowered about their health and making healthy choices.

Food Environment: Food and beverages included in the surroundings in the work environment (e.g., in vending machines, cafeterias, offered at meetings/special occasions, kitchens) that affect an employee's ability to choose healthy options.

Guidance: Recommendations, ideas and quantitative standards to guide your efforts to create a healthier workplace.

Guidelines: Science-based, peer-reviewed statements that help doctors and patients decide appropriate treatment.

Policy: A course of action or rule intended to establish a procedure or protocol; policy can be established

and adopted by governments (through regulation or legislation) or by decision makers to facilitate change within environments like agencies, organizations, corporations, schools or communities.

Procurement: The acquisition of goods or services; the purchase or acquisition of foods and beverages for consumption within the workplace or at conferences, meetings or other events.

Standards: A set of nutrition criteria that may include nutrients to avoid as well as foods and beverages to encourage; the standards establish the foods and beverages eligible to be served or purchased within a healthy work environment.

Sustainable: Affordable, accessible and produced with care for the environment, animals and people. Contributes to the capacity of the system to endure and remain viable over time.

Vending Machine: A device that dispenses foods and beverages for a cost.

Vendor: A restaurant, caterer, hotel or other provider of food and beverages.


?2014, American Heart Association 6/14DS7965



Healthy Workplace Recommendations

? Support healthier choices, provide leadership and role modeling, and create a culture of health.

? Offer nutritious food and beverage options.

? Offer physical activity opportunities that are relevant to the audience and environment to help people achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

? Provide a tobacco-free environment.

? Prioritize sustainable practices when possible by minimizing waste, encouraging recycling and sourcing products from sustainable producers.

Healthy Eating Recommendations

? Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. A typical adult should try for 4?5 servings of fruits and 4?5 servings of vegetables every day. A serving is one medium fruit; 1 cup raw leafy vegetable; ? cup raw, cooked, canned or frozen vegetables or fruits; ? cup juice; or ? cup dried fruit.

? Choose fiber-rich whole grains (three 1-oz. servings per day).

? Eat fish, especially oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon), twice a week.

? Choose fats wisely. Eat less of the bad fats (saturated and trans fats) and replace them with better fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Avoid partially hydrogenated oils and foods made from them. Choose lean meats. Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products. Consume less than 16 g saturated fat, less than 2 g trans fat and between 50 and 70 g of total fat per day. The daily limit for cholesterol is no more than 300 mg.

? Try to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

? L imit the amount of added sugars you consume. Keep added sugars to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day. For men, the limit is no more than 150 calories per day. (That's about 6 teaspoons/day for women and 9 teaspoons/day for men.) Limit sugar-sweetened beverages to no more than 450 calories (36 oz.) per week.

? Limit processed meats, which can be high in sodium and fat, to no more than two servings per week. Processed meats include sandwich meat, sausage and hot dogs. (A serving is 2 oz.)

? Eat at least four servings a week of nuts, seeds and legumes (beans). (A serving is 1/3 cup nuts, 2 Tbsp. seeds or 1/2 cup dry beans or peas.)

The American Heart Association's healthy eating recommendations are based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet.


?2014, American Heart Association 6/14DS7965

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