Resources can help employees comply with City’s healthy foods policy

For more than a year, the City has had a policy that ensures that employees and visitors to City buildings have access to healthy foods. As a result of this policy, you may have noticed that there are healthier choices in vending machines and in the cafeteria line.

For most employees, the need to follow the Healthy Food policy arises only if they are using City funds to purchase food that will be served at a City-sponsored meeting or event. In those instances, the meeting or event host must offer attendees a choice of foods — some of which must be a healthful option such as fresh sliced fruit or vegetables, dried fruit, 100 percent fruit juice, vegetable juice, water, low fat milk or whole grain items. The policy also asks meeting and event sponsors (including contractors using City funds) to limit or avoid deep-fried items as well as foods with high amounts of salt, sugar or saturated and trans fats.

The policy, which was adopted by the City Council in October 2011, resulted from the results of a 2010 wellness survey that indicated that 70 percent of survey respondents supported the establishment of healthy food guidelines.

Another reason for the policy stemmed from health insurance claims indicating that many employees face chronic health conditions. In 2009, City of Minneapolis health insurance plan members incurred more than $56 million in claims for chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attack/stroke. Making healthy foods more readily available was seen as a way to support employees who are working to manage these conditions and boost their overall health.

Employees using their own funds for department events or celebrations are highly encouraged, but not required, to follow the Healthy Foods Policy guidelines.

If you will be planning a meeting or event where food will be served, be sure to check the Healthy Food Environment Website. It contains the complete policy as well as many specific suggestions for healthy, affordable foods that can be served at meetings or events.

 

Published Aug. 14, 2012