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What is healthy eating at work?

We eat about a third of our day's food at work, so the workplace is an ideal place to help workers make healthy choices.

If you have a staff cafe, or provide some on-site catering, considering making the food you provide as healthy as possible.

Healthy eating is about eating a variety of foods from the four food groups.

This means food you provide should include: 

  • plenty of vegetables and fruit
  • grain foods, mostly wholegrain and those naturally high in fibre 
  • some milk and milk products, mostly low and reduced fat 
  • some legumes (such as chickpeas and lentils), nuts, seeds, or fish and other seafood, eggs or poultry, or red meat with the fat removed.

Food should be mostly prepared with or contain minimal saturated fat, salt (sodium) and added sugar. It should be mostly whole or less processed.

This means:

  • some foods containing moderate amounts of saturated fat, salt and/or added sugar may be available in small portions (eg, some baked or frozen goods)
  • no deep-fried foods
  • no or limited confectionery (eg, sweets and chocolate).

Plain water and unflavoured milk should be the predominant cold drink options.

This means:

  • the availability and portion sizes of drinks containing intense sweeteners and no-added-sugar juices are limited
  • no sugar-sweetened drinks.

And alcohol should be limited to reduce the chance of drinking harming your health - or causing injuries.

If you would like more information about healthy eating, see the Ministry of Health's food and activity advice for adults aged 19-64.


If you would like to create a healthy food and drink policy for your work, see the Ministry of Health's healthy food and drink policy below. It can be adapted to meet your workplace's needs.

For some easily understood food and activity information see the Eat Healthy Food and Move More Every Day brochure. You can download and print it, or order it in hardcopy from the Health Education website. 

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